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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 9 : Commerce and Trade

Chapter 120 : Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringement

(Cite as: 9 V.S.A. § 4195)
  • § 4195. Legislative findings and statement of purpose

    (a) The General Assembly finds that:

    (1) Vermont is striving to build an entrepreneurial and knowledge-based economy. Attracting and nurturing small- and medium-size Internet technology (“IT”) and other knowledge-based companies is an important part of this effort and will be beneficial to Vermont’s future.

    (2) Patents are essential to encouraging innovation, especially in the IT and knowledge-based fields. The protections afforded by the federal patent system create an incentive to invest in research and innovation, which spurs economic growth. Patent holders have every right to enforce their patents when they are infringed, and patent enforcement litigation is necessary to protect intellectual property.

    (3) The General Assembly does not wish to interfere with the good faith enforcement of patents or good faith patent litigation. The General Assembly also recognizes that Vermont is preempted from passing any law that conflicts with federal patent law.

    (4) Patent litigation can be technical, complex, and expensive. The expense of patent litigation, which may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, can be a significant burden on small- and medium-size companies. Vermont wishes to help its businesses avoid these costs by encouraging the most efficient resolution of patent infringement claims without conflicting with federal law.

    (5) In order for Vermont companies to be able to respond promptly and efficiently to patent infringement assertions against them, it is necessary that they receive specific information regarding how their product, service, or technology may have infringed the patent at issue. Receiving such information at an early stage will facilitate the resolution of claims and lessen the burden of potential litigation on Vermont companies.

    (6) Abusive patent litigation, and especially the assertion of bad faith infringement claims, can harm Vermont companies. A business that receives a letter asserting such claims faces the threat of expensive and protracted litigation and may feel 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-size companies and nonprofits that lack the resources to investigate and defend themselves against infringement claims.

    (7) Not only do bad faith patent infringement claims impose a significant burden on individual Vermont businesses, they also undermine Vermont’s efforts to attract and nurture small- and medium-size IT and other knowledge-based companies. Funds used to avoid the threat of bad faith litigation are no longer available to invest, produce new products, expand, or hire new workers, thereby harming Vermont’s economy.

    (b) Through this narrowly focused act, the General Assembly seeks to facilitate the efficient and prompt resolution of patent infringement claims, protect Vermont businesses from abusive and bad faith assertions of patent infringement, and build Vermont’s economy, while at the same time respecting federal law and being careful to not interfere with legitimate patent enforcement actions. (Added 2013, No. 44, § 6; 2013, No. 47, § 2, eff. May 24, 2013.)