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Shumlin Signs Law Against False Patent Claims

Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed into law a novel measure aimed at protecting companies from so-called patent trolling — the practice of making deceptive claims of patent infringement in the hopes of collecting licensing or settlement money.

The new law, believed to be the first in the nation, allows courts to consider if a claim is deceptive, specifies factors that can be considered as evidence, and provides for damages or relief to Vermont companies wrongly pressured into paying licensing fees or a settlement.

Jeffrey Lewis of the American Intellectual Property Law Association said the group knows of no other law like it. Law professor Eric Goldman of Santa Clara University said that while the law is novel, it's not clear states have the authority to regulate patent activity.