Vermont governor Peter Shumlin has signed a law into effect that will protect businesses in the state from frivolous patent lawsuits.
Patent trolling, as it is called, has become a serious problem. Patent trolls file lawsuits with very little merit claiming some business has infringed on their patents in hopes of acquiring a payoff through a potential court ruling or settlement.
The unique law is the first of its kind in the U.S. It allows Vermont courts to determine whether or not a claim is deceptive and establishes guidelines for making this decision. These guidelines include whether or not the patent infringement claim specifies the specific patent in question and how quickly the plaintiff is demanding compensation.
The new law also helps Vermont companies that are wrongfully accused of patent infringement by offering relief and gives the state’s attorney general the power to make civil claims against alleged patent trolls. It is being celebrated for its hands-on approach, but it is yet unclear whether this power falls within the state’s jurisdiction.