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Rhode Island Senate advances bill aimed at fighting 'patent trolls'

By Mark Iandolo | May 13, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) — The Rhode Island state Senate has unanimously advanced legislation that bars “patent trolls” in the state.

Under the new legislation, people cannot make bad faith assertions of patent infringement against a Rhode Island business or individual.

“Patent trolls” are individuals or companies that acquire patents in order to extract fees and settlements from people they deem infringers. Under the legislation, a business or individual can take action against the patent troll in the Rhode Island Supreme Court and may be awarded with relief.

"The threat of a frivolous lawsuit, let alone the cost of litigation should a lawsuit ever be filed, can be devastating, particularly for small business owners and non-profit agencies,” said Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. “Patent trolls gamble on a small business simply paying the alleged license fee versus fighting the matter in a court of law. It's deceptive and a misuse of our current patent system. 

"Rhode Island's small businesses have enough obstacles to success already. They cannot afford to be attacked by dubious patent trolls looking to make a quick buck.”

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Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General Rhode Island Supreme Court