Case Details


State Is Real Party In Interest In Consumer Protection Case

Filing State



U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont




No. 2:13-cv-170, (D. Vt. April 15, 2014).


Case remanded to state court.

Case Description

The attorney general of Vermont brought a consumer protection action against MPHJ, a patent assertion entity, alleging that MPHJ sent letters to Vermont businesses and non-profit entities containing threatening false and misleading statements.  Defendant removed the case to federal court and the attorney general sought remand.  The federal district court remanded the case.  MPHJ argued for removal on both federal question (because the case involved the validity, infringement and enforcement of patents) and diversity jurisdiction (because the state brought the suit on behalf of Vermont businesses, who are therefore the real party in interest). The court held that patent issues were neither necessarily raised nor substantial, because the case could be decided without determining the validity of the patents asserted by MPHJ.  The court also held that there was no diversity because the state is the real party in interest. The remedies sought by the states,—a statewide injunction and civil penalties– would be unavailable to private litigants. The court remanded the case to state court