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The legislature finds that abusive patent litigation, and especially the assertion of bad faith infringement claims, can harm Washington's economy. A person or business that receives a demand asserting such claims faces the threat of expensive and protracted litigation and may determine that it has no choice but to settle and to pay a licensing fee, even if the claim is meritless. This is especially so for small and medium-sized entities and nonprofits lacking adequate resources to investigate and defend themselves against the infringement claims. Not only do bad faith patent infringement claims impose a significant burden on individual Washington businesses and other entities, they also undermine Washington's efforts to attract and nurture information technology and knowledge-based businesses. Resources expended to avoid the threat of bad faith litigation are no longer available to invest, develop and produce new products, expand, or hire new workers, thereby harming Washington's economy. Through this legislation, the legislature seeks to protect Washington's economy from abusive and bad faith assertions of patent infringement, while not interfering with federal law or legitimate patent enforcement actions.
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