|Merpel experiences another|
thing Minnesota is known for:
Brutally cold winters
However, there is at least one person in Minnesota who is not-so-Minnesota Nice: Lori Swanson, the state's Attorney General. Ms Swanson has taken a tough stance against unlawful activities carried out by companies perceived as patent trolls, stating, “[p]atent trolls shake down small businesses to pay ‘license fees’ they may not owe to avoid threats of costly litigation.”
Following hot on the heels of Vermont's Attorney General William H. Sorrell's lawsuit against MPHJ and settlement with Patent & Trademark Agency, LLC, Ms Swanson's office similarly investigated MPHJ's activities in Minnesota to determine whether they violated the state's consumer protection laws. AG Swanson announced on Tuesday that her office had completed an "Assurance of Discontinuance" settlement agreement with MPHJ. According to a press release issued by Ms Swanson's office, the settlement requires that "MPHJ Technology must cease its patent enforcement campaign in the State of Minnesota and cannot resume such business activities in Minnesota without the permission of the Attorney General. The settlement also prevents MPHJ Technology from assigning its patents to anyone who does not agree to be bound by these terms."
This Kat finds it worth noting that, according to AG Swanson, not one Minnesota company that had received a demand letter from MPHJ actually paid the demanded fee. Perhaps the frequent media assaults against patent trolls and the various pending federal legistlative efforts to curb the effectiveness of patent trolls has created a situation in which potential defendants are less reluctant to fight back instead of settle.
Is this a sign that more state lawmakers will begin to take similar actions against NPEs?