A measure in Trenton goes after a business-unfriendly practice sometimes known as "patent trolling." The sponsor of the measure claims it can help remove a threat to the innovation-based economy that New Jersey is hopeful to have.


The legislation from Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Mount Laurel) is designed to stop "frivolous lawsuits" filed by non-practicing entities that buy up a number of dormant patents and go after companies that develop similar technology.

"It's a high-priced game of blackmail because most companies, especially the real larger ones, decide it's better to pay off a settlement, rather than to go through the lengthy and often expensive litigation process," Singleton said, noting this type of trolling results in billions of dollars in lost wealth every year.

Apple and Samsung were the most pursued companies in 2013, according to PatentFreedom. Singleton suggested small-time tech businesses are targets as well.

"This is something that has to be stopped, or otherwise our economy won't be able to grow," Singleton said. "Innovation has always been one of the essential ingredients to our economic growth."

The issue is on the federal government's radar, and legislation similar to Singleton's has been passed in a handful of other states.