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December 18, 2013
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Claire Haynes (334) 242-7351
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(MONTGOMERY)–Attorney General Luther Strange today announced that
Alabama has joined 42 other Attorneys General in submitting a letter to the Secretary of
the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), voicing strong support for the federal agency’s
proposed nationwide investigation of patent trolls.

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 non-profit 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, also known as patent assertion entities. The proposed
investigation would arm consumer protection authorities with valuable intelligence as
they escalate actions against abusers of the patent system.

Recently, a number of states have taken action against patent trolls whose activities
run afoul of state consumer protection and unfair trade practice laws. Although much has
been discovered through investigation of specific patent troll entities, the business
structure and operating methods of other such entities remain unclear.

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

Attorney General Strange asked Alabama businesses who may have experienced
patent trolling to let his office know. “If you believe your business may have been affected
by patent trolling, or if someone attempts this with you, please let us know. You may
contact my Consumer Protection Division by calling 334-353-1831 or through my
webpage, www.ago.alabama.gov.”
501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 242-7300