Vermont v. MPHJ Tech. Inv., LLC, No. 15-1310 (Fed. Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
The state filed a complaint, alleging that letters mailed by MPHJ to Vermont businesses informing them that they may be infringing certain patents were deceptive and violated the Vermont Consumer Protection Act, 9 V.S.A. 2451. MPHJ is a non-practicing entity incorporated in Delaware that acts through shell corporations incorporated in many states. MPHJ removed the case twice to federal court, once under the original complaint and once under an amended complaint. The district court remanded the case to state court both times. The Federal Circuit affirmed. While 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(2), provides jurisdiction “in any civil action arising under, or in any civil action in which a party has asserted a compulsory counterclaim arising under, any Act of Congress relating to patents,” the patents at issue were transferred to MPHJ from the original patent owner; they were not directly “derived from a federal officer.” The complaint neither alleged violation of nor sought relief under the Vermont Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringement Act so there is no risk that the state court action can affect the validity of federal law.