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Ky. Lawmakers Take Aim At "Patent Trolls"

A practice known as “patent trolling” is the target of a bill that passed the Kentucky Senate Tuesday.

Following the lead of lawmakers in Vermont, Nebraska, and Oregon, Sens. Christian McDaniel and Whitney Westerfield introduced Senate Bill 116 earlier this month in an effort to crack down on bad faith patent infringement allegations. McDaniel told the chamber Tuesday that Kentucky should act to protect its businesses and innovators.

"The effect that it is having has gotten so bad that the President of the United States mentioned in his State of the Union remarks the need for bills like Senate Bill 116 to help address the problems inside of the patent system," McDaniel said.

Efforts are underway, however, on the national level. An anti-patent troll measure sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives in December. And state Sen. Ray Jones argued that’s where the action should stay.

"I can't support a bill that is basically trampling on federal turf. There is nothing, as far as I can find, in our constitution that gives us the authority to regulate patent issues," Jones said.

If approved by the General Assembly, Kentucky’s bill would allow affected companies to recover tripled damages, court costs, and attorney fees from entities issuing groundless legal threats over patent infringement.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.