A bill that seeks to limit claims of copyright infringement of intellectual property in Kentucky cleared the state Senate on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 116 would crack down on copyright infringement claims by groups known as "patent trolls," which seek to exploit patent law for monetary gain.
The bill, filed by Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel, passed the chamber by a 31 to 7 vote. But dissenters in that chamber argued that copyright enforcement is a federal matter, and that McDaniel’s bill could lead to large companies bullying smaller copyright holders.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Christian McDaniel, a Taylor Mill Republican, says that larger groups send letters of infringement to small businesses to scare them into financial settlements.
“With thousands of letters being sent, it only takes a small number of settlements to make this a very profitable model for those non-practicing entities, or as they are more euphemistically known, patent trolls, to prey upon the intellectual property of the United States," McDaniel says.
Sen. Ray Jones, a Democrat from Pikeville, adds: “You could have a big, huge company come into Kentucky, usurp a patent that is held by a local Kentucky resident, but a local Kentucky resident that would have to take on a big tech company or a big IT company would be in a precarious position trying to litigate a potential patent infringement under the purview of this bill.”
The bill now heads to the House.