Mark Iandolo Jan. 29, 2016, 1:54pm


RICHMOND, Virginia (Legal Newsline) — Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring has announced his office will place a new emphasis on supporting state businesses by taking action against patent trolling in Virginia.

The commonwealth’s first Attorney General’s Patent Troll Unit will combat “bad faith” claims of patent infringement, which forces high-tech and Main Street business to choose either fighting through costly litigation or paying unjustified licensing fees, the attorney general said.

This team is empowered to research cases of patent trolling and seek financial penalties and injunctions against those it alleges partake in patent trolling. This empowerment comes through bipartisan compromise legislation that Herring’s team helped broker.

"Patent trolling is basically a 21st Century shakedown that forces businesses to choose between costly litigation or ridiculous fees if they want the claim to go away," Herring said. "Virginia businesses of all sizes can be targets, from a small, local business up to a large, high-tech firm. Under the bipartisan legislation we were able to help craft last year, my office has strong new enforcement powers and we're going to use them to protect Virginia businesses from these bad actors."

“Patent troll” is shorthand terminology for select “non-practicing entities” that do not make or use their patents in any meaningful sense and instead send bad faith demand letters to business alleging infringement.

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