This cat can attest that the state of Vermont is not only one of America's loveliest states, with big lakes and green mountains, but one of its quirkiest too. The place has a penchant for electing socialist Senators and hosting "Bread and Puppet" theatre and has a strong independent streak dating from its days as an independent republic.
But into this happy land roamed a Texas cowboy who carried not a six gun, but something more
|A new cat-sherriff comes to Vermont|
"As you can imagine, most businesses, upon being informed that they are infringing someone's patent rights, are interested in operating lawfully and taking a license promptly," wrote the cowboy in one of his many missives.
The cowboy in question is Jay Mac Rust (who can see a picture of him and his chapeau here), who is an American "super lawyer" and counsel for MPHJ, a patent assertion entity that wrangles more than 40 shell companies, all of which have the same address - at a mail service company in the state of Delaware. MPJH's handful patents, one of which issued in 2001, cover basic imaging technology and have not been asserted until last year -- when MPHJ targeted everyone far and wide, including a non-profit organization that assists disabled Vermonters.
The Green Mountain state ultimately decided enough was enough and this month sued MPHJ and its passel of shell progenies, arguing its behavior amounted to a violation of Vermont laws against unfair and deceitful trade practices. Here, to wit, are some of the alleged unfair acts:
- Threatening infringement actions despite no evidence that the defendants had in fact infringed the patents
- Using shell companies to hide the true owner of the patents and encourage quick settlements
- Implying that defendants' failure to respond to initial letters suggested that they had consulted patent counsel that would cost more than the license demand
- Stating that plaintiff would sue if the defendant did not reply in two weeks
- Stating that the licensing program had received a "positive response from the business community"
- Saying that the average license price was $900-$1200 per employee and that "most" letter recipients had paid
|Merpel muses on starting|
her own patent republic