Yesterday, the Virginia House of Delegates introduced House Bill No. 375, entitled Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringement. The bill tracks, in part, similar consumer protection bills introduced in Nebraska and Vermont. Nebraska has taken the matter a step forward and is now proposing that bad faith letters constitute deceptive trade practices, subject to criminal penalties.
These statutes can complicate matters for the handful of trolls that rely on letter writing campaigns for quick, $10,000 settlements (often mailing hotels and restaurants, claiming to own laser printing and/or basic WiFi concepts). These types of trolls are a relatively recent phenomena.
Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to turn to patent reform this month. As a reminder, with the Innovation Act (HR 3309) passed by the House a few weeks back, the Senate is expected to move forward on the companion bill in a matter of weeks.