75-145. Enforcement; remedies; damages.

(a) The Attorney General shall have the same authority under this Article to make rules, conduct civil investigations, bring civil actions, and enter into assurances of discontinuance as provided under this Chapter. In an action brought by the Attorney General pursuant to this section, the court may award or impose any relief available under this Chapter.

(b) A target or a person aggrieved by a violation of this Article or by a violation of rules adopted under this Article may bring an action in superior court against a person who has made a bad-faith assertion of patent infringement. A court may award to a plaintiff who prevails in an action brought pursuant to this subsection one or more of the following remedies:

(1) Equitable relief.

(2) Damages.

(3) Costs and fees, including reasonable attorneys' fees.

(4) Exemplary damages in an amount equal to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or three times the total of damages, costs, and fees, whichever is greater.

(c) A court may award to a defendant who prevails in an action brought pursuant to this section costs and fees, including reasonable attorneys' fees, if the court finds the action was not well-grounded in fact and warranted by existing law or was interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.

(d) Joinder of Interested Parties. - In an action arising under subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the court shall grant a motion by the Attorney General or a target to join an interested party if the moving party shows that the party alleging infringement has no substantial interest in the patent or patents at issue other than making demands or asserting such patent claim in litigation.

(e) In an action arising under subsection (a) or (b) of this section, any person who has delivered or sent, or caused another to deliver or send, a demand to a target in North Carolina has purposefully availed himself or herself of the privileges of conducting business in this State and shall be subject to suit in this State, whether or not the person is transacting or has transacted any other business in this State. This Article shall be construed as a special jurisdiction statute in accordance with G.S. 1-75.4(2).

(f) If a party is unable to pay an amount awarded by the court pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the court may find any interested party joined pursuant to subsection (d) of this section jointly and severally liable for the abusive patent assertion and make the award recoverable against any or all of the joined interested parties.

(g) This Article shall not be construed to limit rights and remedies available to the State of North Carolina or to any person under any other law and shall not alter or restrict the Attorney General's authority under this Article with regard to conduct involving assertions of patent infringement. (2014-110, s. 2.1.)