Feds may use subpoena powers to study patent trolls
FTC can crack open secret patent deals to learn about a shadowy business.

Last December, the Federal Trade Commission held a workshop about patent trolls; dozens of corporations, interest groups, and individuals have now submitted public comments about the issue.

In the past week, it's become clearer than ever that government interest in the issue is growing, not fading. Two key FTC directors revealed at a legal conference last week that they're in favor of opening up a so-called 6(b) investigation about whether or not patent trolls, which the FTC calls "patent assertion entities," are stifling competition. That would allow the FTC to use its subpoena powers to collect information that's not available to academics, journalists, and others who write about patent troll activities...

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