One of the most maligned patent trolls, MPHJ Technology Investments, will have to face claims in state court that it violated Vermont’s consumer protection laws.
MPHJ and its owner, Texas attorney Mac Rust, gained national attention after sending tens of thousands of letters out to small and medium-sized businesses stating that any business using scan-to-e-mail technology owed MPHJ around $1,000 per worker for patent infringement.
MPHJ was investigated by the Federal Trade Commission and confronted by several state attorneys general, including Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, who sued MPHJ for violating his state’s consumer protection law. MPHJ fought to move the case into federal court but lost that appeal in 2014. Then it filed a second appeal seeking removal to federal court, stating that Vermont’s new patent-related consumer protection law, the Vermont Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringement Act, (“BFAPIA”), was preempted by federal law.