Jessica Karmasek Jun. 18, 2015, 11:16am


DENVER (Legal Newsline) - Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed into law a bill aimed at combating so-called patent “trolls.”

Hickenlooper signed the legislation, HB 1063, June 5, along with more than a dozen other bills.

The bill, introduced in January by state Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, and Sen. David Balmer, R-Centennial, ensures legitimate patent infringement cases can proceed while giving the state Attorney General’s Office enforcement authority when allegations and communications -- i.e. demand letters -- have been made in bad faith.

Previously, such litigation was considered a private matter and therefore state prosecutors had no such power.

Generally speaking, a non-practicing entity, patent assertion entity or patent monetization entity purchases groups of patents without an intent to market or develop a product.

In some cases, but not all, the entity then targets other businesses with lawsuits alleging infringement of the patents it bought. Often, these are referred to as patent “trolls.”

The new state law has garnered the support of the Colorado Competitive Council, Colorado Bankers Association and the Colorado BioScience Association.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a total of 19 states have introduced legislation to create or amend state laws that punish bad faith assertions.

Eight states, including Colorado, have enacted legislation this year alone.

In total, 26 states have enacted such bills since 2013, when Vermont became the first state to pass legislation. Patent law traditionally is a federal issue.

Congress also is tackling the issue.

Both the U.S. House of Representatives’ Innovation Act and the Senate’s Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship, or PATENT, Act cleared their chambers’ judiciary committees recently.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

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