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VSCPA, Other Organizations Urge McAuliffe to Sign Patent Infringement Legislation

September 30, 2018

April 24, 2004 

The Honorable Terrence A. McAuliffe
Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia
The Patrick Henry Building
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219 

Dear Governor McAuliffe,

The 2014 Virginia General Assembly overwhelmingly determined that the Commonwealth will stand with Virginia businesses against bad faith behavior of patent assertion entities, otherwise known as patent trolls. Our coalition was honored to have the active support of Attorney General Herring in formulating and passing SB 150 and HB 375 this past session. We respectfully request that you take the final step and sign SB 150 and HB 375 into law and add Virginia to the growing list of states declaring that bad faith assertions of patent infringement by patent trolls have no place in our growing innovation-based economy.

Patent trolls target Virginia businesses by sending demand letters threatening costly litigation if payment is not remitted. Although these demand letters are often frivolous and made in bad faith, Virginia businesses are often intimidated by these claims and choose to pay a settlement fee rather than incurring significant legal expense. Virginia businesses that are targeted by bad faith patent trolls lose valuable resources that could otherwise be used to grow a business or hire new employees.

SB 150 and HB 375 establish statutory criteria that indicate when a patent assertion may be made in “bad faith” (e.g. deceptive, no patent number referenced, no description of the specific violation or the product that is covered by the patent). By setting a basic standard through these criteria and establishing the authority of the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute bad faith patent assertion violations, the legislation will make patent trolls think twice before they try to intimidate Virginia businesses with threats of costly litigation. Throughout the legislative process, Attorney General Herring and our coalition worked tirelessly to ensure that legitimate patent holders rights are protected and that SB 150 and HB 375 are not preempted by federal patent law.

We respectfully request that you sign SB 150 and HB 375 into law.

AOL, Inc.
Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce
Micron Technology
Northern Virginia Technology Council
Prince William Chamber of Commerce
Virginia Bankers Association
Virginia Chamber of Commerce
Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association
Virginia Independent Insurance Agents
Virginia Retail Federation
Virginia Retail Merchants Association
Virginia Society of CPAs

cc: The Honorable Mark Herring
Attorney General, Commonwealth of Virginia

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