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'Patent Trolls' topic of Champlain forum - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

'Patent Trolls' topic of Champlain forum

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Patent trolls continue to be a growing problem across the country.

These are entities that buy patents and then threaten litigation to force innocent businesses to pay them settlement fees or risk a costly legal battle. And they are increasingly targeting small and medium sized companies.

Champlain College hosted a forum on patent abuse to highlight the issue. Vermont was the first state in the country to put a law in place to crack down on patent trolls.  

But speakers at the forum Monday say more needs to be done on a national level, especially when it comes to patents for software. Boston University's James Bessen has studied this issue for years. "Some patent trolls are making a lot of money but many patent trolls are costing companies a lot of money. We estimated that they cost companies 29 billion in terms of legal fees and settlement payments in 2011," he said.

Bessen says there needs to be changes in laws governing patent litigation and changes in the way software patents are granted and used.

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