Neb. AG looking into deceptive practices by patent trolls

By Bryan Cohen | Jul 18, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. (Legal Newsline) -- Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said Thursday his office is looking into whether recent patent infringement efforts by a Texas law firm are in violation of state law.

Farney Daniels LLP recently sent multiple letters to Nebraska business on behalf of patent trolls, threatening lawsuits over patent infringement.

Patent trolls are companies that purchase groups of patents without an intent to market or develop a product. The companies then target other businesses with lawsuits alleging infringement of the patents they bought.

Bruning said such litigation is destructive and costly to Nebraska businesses and consumers.

Businesses that used, developed or sold established technologies are typically caught off-guard by the litigation threats, he explained.

"'Patent trolls' make egregious threats with little or no valid legal purpose to gain fast money," the attorney general said in a statement. "It is a top priority of our office to protect Nebraska consumers and businesses from this sort of baseless harassment."

Bruning said if patent infringement efforts by Farney Daniels LLP amount to deceptive or unfair practices, they may violate the Nebraska Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Consumer Protection Act.

The Attorney General's Office has the power to bring an action in the name of the state against any person to restrain and prevent violations of the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Consumer Protection Act. The office also can use the action to seek civil penalties against offenders.

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