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.