On July 1, a new law took effect in the Commonwealth of Virginia that provides trademark owners an additional enforcement tool for trademark infringement actions. Under the Virginia Trademark Counterfeiting Act, the state’s trademark law is expanded so that marks registered with the USPTO — rather than simply marks registered with the state — are covered by the law. Thus, owners filing suit in Virginia for infringement of a federally registered trademark can seek remedies under both the federal Lanham Act and the Virginia state act.
The new law also increases the criminal penalties for trademark infringement in Virginia. The first act of infringement is considered to be a class 1 misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of $2,500 (i.e., doubling the sentencing period, and increasing the fine by 150%, compared to the previous law). If an infringer possesses 100 or more copies of a same infringing merchandise, the penalty may be increased to five years in jail, or in the alternative one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
For the full text of the changes to Virginia’s trademark law, click here.