Texas lawyer Jay Mac Rust, pictured here in 2006, has been revealed as the owner of MPHJ Technology Investments.
MPHJ Technology Investments quickly became one of the best-known “patent trolls” of all time by sending out thousands of letters to small businesses—16,465 of them, we now know—saying that if the business did not pay a licensing fee of $1,000 or more per worker, it would be sued for patent infringement. MPHJ claimed to have patents that cover any networked “scan-to-email” function.
As the debate over so-called “patent trolls” has flared up in Congress, MPHJ became the go-to example for politicians and attorneys general trying to show that patent abuse has spun out of control. “We’re talking about bottom feeders,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in one Senate hearing focused on patent demand letters.
We now know that MPHJ has also become the first patent troll targeted by the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC’s interest in MPHJ was revealed in an audacious “preemptive strike” lawsuit that MPHJ actually filed against the FTC on Monday. The suit, which names the four sitting FTC commissioners personally, says that the agency has overstepped its bounds and trampled on MPHJ’s constitutional rights.