FTC to launch new investigation of patent trolls

The commission needs to understand the benefits and costs of patent assertion entities, FTC Chairwoman Ramirez says

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

U.S. lawmakers have introduced two bills this year targeted at PAEs, and earlier this month, President Barack Obama called on Congress to allow new challenges to patents on processes that are enabled by computers and to make it more difficult for patent-holding firms to gain import injunctions at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

CCIA President and CEO Ed Black praised the FTC for the new study, saying it was a "welcome step."

Antitrust lawyer David Balto also praised the study, saying 6(b) studies can play "a vital role in guiding Congress and regulators how to put a stop to harmful and deceptive conduct."

The study will help "spotlight the extortion tactics of this modern-day litigation Mafia," Balto said. "[PAEs] use uncertainty and deception to exploit vulnerable small businesses, raising costs for consumers, stifling innovation and ultimately dampening economic growth."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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