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AG Swanson orders 'patent-trolling' company to cease in MN

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Minnesota has settled with a Delaware company accused of "patent trolling" in Minnesota, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said Tuesday.

MPHJ Technology Investments LLC, a Delaware-based firm, has agrees to cease patent enforcement activities in the state and can't resume business here without the attorney general's permission, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The company was accused of trying to wring money out of hundreds of Minnesota businesses on claims the companies were infringing on patent rights by using basic office equipment, reports the Associated Press.

"Patent trolls shake down small businesses to pay 'license fees' they may not owe to avoid threats of costly litigation," Swanson said. The St. Paul paper notes her office began its investigation in the spring after complaints from several small Minnesota businesses.

MPHJ has been named in similar suits across the country, as this Vermont court file attests.

The firm also agreed to pay a $50,000 civil penalty and refund all money should the state discover that any Minnesota residents or companies actually paid MPHJ Technology money for either a license or an alleged infringement.

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