Protecting small business and entrepreneurship from corporate bullies
Across the country, patent troll companies are using the threat of frivolous but costly patent infringement suits to extort money from innocent companies. Patent trolls send boilerplate letters to thousands of companies demanding thousands of dollars as the cost of avoiding a lawsuit. Small businesses are scared into meeting the demands of the trolls and this deters them from starting companies and applying for patents. Studies show that over $83 billion per year is spent defending against patent infringement suits.
During the 2014 legislative session, Jon introduced and passed a bill to combat practices by patent assertion entities also known as “patent trolls.” Jon sees these trolls as a major threat to Maryland’s small businesses. Technology startup companies, which are the troll’s principle targets, are tremendous job creators for Maryland. Jon’s bill allows the recipient of a bad faith patent infringement suit or demand letter to countersue for up to three times the total costs of damages and litigation fees combined. The Attorney General’s office would gain the authority to bring suits against patent troll companies to enforce the State’s interest in protecting business and fostering a fair business climate.