Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced today that the Oregon State Legislature has passed a bill that makes “patent trolling” an unlawful trade practice. Under Senate Bill 1540, the Oregon Department of Justice can take enforcement action against those who, without a good faith basis, accuse others of infringing on their patents. The accusations are usually paired with a demand for money, under the guise of a “licensing fee.” For example, the legislature heard that a business claiming a patent on using fans to ventilate construction sites recently demanded a $150 “licensing fee” from contractors who use this everyday process.
Republican Senator Jackie Winters of Salem sponsored the bill, with support from the Attorney General’s office. The bill passed both houses of the legislature unanimously.
“Patent trolling stifles innovation and entrepreneurship,” Rosenblum said. “I applaud the legislature for taking this action, and Senator Winters in particular for her leadership on this issue.”
The passage of SB 1540 will make Oregon only the second state in the country to take legislative action to address patent trolling. Vermont enacted a similar provision in 2013.
Kristina Edmunson, Department of Justice, Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us, 503-378-6002