2014 Virginia Legal Elite – Intellectual Property
Ian D. Titley
Schroder Fidlow PLC, Richmond
Other legal specialties: Business law
Birthplace: Schenectady, N.Y.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Penn State; law degree, George Mason University School of Law
Children: Andrew, Allison, Alex
Hobbies or pastimes: Trees, birds, gardens, cars, fishing
First job as a lawyer: Clerk, U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia
Fan of: University of Richmond Spiders swimming and diving
Favorite vacation spot: Upstate New York — the Adirondacks
Recently read books: “Remarkable Trees of Virginia”
Career mentor: Dana McDaniel, Spotts Fain
Do you think that Virginia’s new law aimed at “patent trolls” will be effective?
It seems unlikely private parties will see many changes. Most infringement notices are sent by attorneys who are already prohibited from bringing “a proceeding … unless there is a basis for doing so that is not frivolous.” (Rule 3.1) Presumably the “bad-faith” claims prohibited by the statute are “frivolous”; the statute seems to outlaw already prohibited actions. The deterrent effect of the new statute is probably limited because only the commonwealth can bring a claim.
What other legal trends are you seeing in areas of trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets or licensing?
Strict liability remedies regarding copyright, cable and satellite TV can be abused when the financial risk of statutory damages far outweighs the harm suffered by the plaintiff. Fortunately, courts are recognizing the imbalance. Judge John Gibney in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia summoned California film producers to his court to justify their “shakedown” (his words) tactics, and a Pennsylvania court recently issued a 57-page opinion granting a distributor default judgment and rejecting its disproportional damages claim.