JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (5/1/14)--With a little more than two weeks remaining in the 2014 session, two bills regarding patent "trolls" are successfully making their way through Missouri's General Assembly.
HB 1374 was voted out of the Senate Judicial Committee and is currently waiting to be assigned to the Senate calendar. Its companion bill, SB 706, passed through the Senate and has been placed on the House calendar. (See related story: CUNA joins with 400 firms, amplifies patent reform support.)
"We have a good shot of getting one of these passed," said David Kent, director of state legislative affairs, Missouri Credit Union Association. There was no opposition to these bills in the committee stage, he added.
Both prohibit bad-faith assertions of patent infringement, list evidence the court may consider and provide remedies the court may award. Patent "trolls" buy up patents in order to extract fees--or legal settlements--from other companies that may use that technology. Credit unions sometimes choose to settle instead of fight the abusive demands.
"It's a good, common sense bill," Kent told News Now. "It will protect small businesses, including credit unions, by serving as a deterrent and make these patent trolls think twice before sending frivolous demand letters alleging patent infringement."
The Missouri state legislative session ends May 16.
Missouri is one of more than a dozen states that have taken up patent reform legislation.