JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Last week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law a bill aimed at combating so-called patent "trolls."

Nixon signed Senate Bill 706 in an effort to protect state businesses and residents from "being preyed upon" by trolls, he said. The new law prohibits bad faith assertions of patent infringement.

In particular, it creates a seven-factor test for courts to use in determining whether a claim is a bad faith assertion.

Also under the new law, if a person believes that he or she is a target of a bad faith assertion of patent infringement after receiving a demand letter, the person has a private right to a cause of action and can recover damages.

The state attorney general also is allowed to investigate, restrain and prosecute bad faith assertions of patent infringement claims. Any awards recovered by the attorney general will be credited to the state's Antitrust Revolving Fund.

However, the new law does not apply to a demand letter or assertion of patent infringement that includes a claim for relief.

State Sen. Mike Cunningham, the Republican sponsor of the bill, could not immediately be reached for comment.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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