By Associated Press - Saturday, May 23, 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy is joining with his Republican colleague Chuck Grassley of Iowa to back patent legislation designed to encourage developers of technologies for use in poor nations.

This week’s bill introduction comes as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to consider broader patent legislation.

Leahy and Grassley say the Patents for Humanity Improvement Act expands an existing program to encourage small businesses to participate.

The broader legislation also tries to crack down on patent trolls, who critics say shake down businesses by threatening them with lawsuits based on often spurious allegations of patent violations.

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