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Alleged “patent troll” strikes out for second time in its efforts to have the Vermont AG’s “unfair patent enforcement” lawsuit adjudicated in federal court.

In May 2013 the State of Vermont sued MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC for alleged consumer fraud arising from its letters sent to Vermont businesses claiming patent infringement.  Since then, the parties have been disputing  which court system the case should be heard in.  The Vermont federal court has, once again, “remanded” the case against MPHJ back to Vermont state court.

In its most recent attempt to obtain federal jurisdiction, MPHJ argued that, after the State filed its original Complaint against MPHJ, Vermont passed its “Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringement” law (i.e., the “anti patent troll” law) and that the interim enactment of this law gave MPHJ new grounds for federal court jurisdiction.  In response, the State and the federal court disagreed, pointing out that the State never attempted to incorporate that new law into its Complaint in this case.

Indeed, it is not clear that there would be federal jurisdiction even if the State had incorporated the new anti-troll law into its Complaint against MPHJ.  The Jan. 12 order from Federal judge Sessions concludes this is a matter for state (and not federal) court because the State’s case is not about the validity of MPHJ’s patents (which would give rise to federal court jurisdiction), but, instead, only about the legality of MPHJ’s activities in seeking to get Vermont businesses to pay it licensing fees under Vermont consumer protection laws.  As it did the first time (and lost), MPHJ might attempt to appeal this most recent order to the federal appeals court.

Oracle v Google: Are APIs Copyrightable?

November 12, 2014
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Last month, Google asked the Supreme Court to hear its appeal of an appeals court ruling that certain application program interfaces (APIs) are copyrightable.  Oracle’s response is due in December, and the US Government may weigh in, so we may not know until January 2015 whether the Supreme Court will accept the case.  I expect they […]

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Software Patentability – The Supreme Court Speaks. Turn Down the Volume.

June 23, 2014
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On Thursday, June 19, 2014, the US Supreme Court issued its decision in Alice v CLS Bank, a court case dealing with the patentability of software.  See our earlier post on the lower court rulings. What is Patentable? In the US, we have a law (35 USC §101) that lays out what kinds of subject matter are […]

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Tesla Patent Pledge….Too Good to be True?

June 15, 2014
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On Thursday June 12, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Moters, posted a blog post that said “…Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”   At first glance, a good thing.  It is certainly better than having no such pledge.  But before folks gleefully download all […]

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EU Court of Justice Rules Web Browsing is not Copyright Infringement

June 12, 2014
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Whenever we view content on the Internet, our web browsers (Internet Explorer or Firefox, for most folks) make temporary copies of that content on our computers.  Amongst the rights reserved by copyright holders is the right to prevent others from making copies.  So do those copies constitute copyright infringement?  On Thursday, the European Court of […]

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Pun Marks are Fun Marks! Then Why is Chewy Vuiton OK, But Not Ben & Cherry’s?

November 25, 2013
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by Jamie Fitzgerald Last year a California porn studio, Caballero Video, paid dubious homage to Ben & Jerry’s®   (“B&J”) when it launched a “Ben & Cherry’s” film series.  Even the less explicit titles in the series, such as BOSTON CREAM THIGH and HAIRY GARCIA, (a la B&J’s BOSTON CREAM PIE and CHERRY GARCIA®), evidence an […]

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Alleged Patent Troll Targeted by Vermont Attorney General

September 25, 2013
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Previously, we posted about Governor Peter Shumlin signing into law Vermont’s first-in-the-nation (and so far only-in-the-nation) patent troll legislation helping Vermont businesses protect themselves from bad faith patent infringement claims. 9 V.S.A. §§4195-4199 (effective July 1, 2013). In the meantime, the Vermont Attorney General is pursuing patent troll claims against MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC under […]

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3D Printing and Utility Patents: Will 3D Printers Lead to Widespread Infringement of Utility Patents?

September 11, 2013
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by Kevin McGrath This article is the next in a series of posts discussing IP issues surrounding 3D printing.  As discussed in the last post, some types of 3D printing technology have become affordable enough for home use.  This has led to increased concerns that the printers’ capability to make “perfect replicas” will lead to […]

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Protecting Your Brand by Registering with the New gTLD Trademark Clearinghouse

August 21, 2013
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By Cathleen Stadecker Why a new Trademark Clearinghouse? In June of last year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced it had received nearly 2,000 applications for approximately 1,400 unique new gTLDs or “strings,” for example .app, .llc, .auto, .realty, and .law. This is a huge number compared to the 22 gTLDs […]

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Seed of Patent Infringement Germinates Between Organic Farmers and Monsanto

June 25, 2013
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Organic farmers throughout the U.S. have worried for years that agricultural powerhouse Monsanto, might someday show up at their garden gate with a lawsuit for patent infringement because their crops were “inadvertently” contaminated with Monsanto biotech seed, a GMO or genetically modified organism, growing in neighboring fields. They were so worried, in fact, that in […]

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