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DeWine, 42 Attorneys General Commend FTC on Patent Troll Investigation


(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today joined Attorneys General from 41 States and Guam in publicly supporting the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) proposed nationwide investigation of patent assertion entities, also known as patent trolls. The Attorneys General sent a letter to FTC Chairman Donald S. Clark as part of the agency’s comment period on the project.

"[Patent trolls] acquire patents solely for the purpose of using them as weapons to obtain financial gains from entities they claim to have infringed the patent,” DeWine and the Attorneys General said in their letter. "This has become a kind of silent extortion.”

Patent trolls make baseless claims of patent infringement to extract fees or settlements from consumers. They acquire patents solely for this purpose. Consumers, small businesses and nonprofit agencies are often targeted because they have purchased or used off-the-shelf commercial products that rely on common, everyday technology. These products include printers, scanners or wireless routers.

In early October, the FTC announced its plan to conduct a wide-ranging investigation of known patent trolls. The proposed investigation would arm consumer protection authorities, such as the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, with valuable intelligence as they escalate actions against abusers of the patent system.

“We again commend the FTC on taking this valuable step to gather additional information regarding [patent trolls],” DeWine and the Attorneys General wrote. “We believe the collection of such information will greatly assist enforcement efforts against [patent trolls] where they are found to violate antitrust and unfair and deceptive trade practices laws.”

In addition to Ohio, the letter was signed by the Attorneys General from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.



Letter to FTC (PDF)

Media Contacts

Dan Tierney 614-466-3840
Kate Hanson: 614-466-3840

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