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FTC Will 'Troll' for Patent Assertion Entities

The Federal Trade Commission has voted 4-0
to collect information from about 25 Patent Assertion Entities (PAE's), or so-called
"patent trolls."

After it collects
comment on that proposal, it plans to compel information from the companies in
an effort to "better understand how they impact innovation and
competition." PAE's buy patents and
then attempt to enforce them against companies already using the patented

With PAE litigation on the
rise, said the FTC, it is important to get a better handle on how PAE's operate. The FTC
pointed out that studies to date have relied primarily on public data, but that
it has the authority to collect nonpublic data including "licensing
agreements, patent acquisition information, and cost and revenue data,"
which could shine a stronger light on PAE practices.

To compare those
practices with patent protection activity by other patent owners, the FTC also
plans to seek info from more than a dozen entities asserting patents in the
wireless communications sector.