Vermont sues patent troll over small business shakedowns

Gigaom

Well, this is good news. The state of Vermont has decided to join private companies like Twitter in taking the fight to patent trolls — shell companies that don’t do anything except use old patents to extort businesses into paying licenses for common technology.

In a complaint filed in Vermont’s Superior Court, the state accuses MPHJ Technology — which operates 40 shell companies through a UPS store in Delaware  — of violating consumer protection law by demanding small businesses buy a license or face a patent lawsuit.

“Hopefully would-be patent trolls will see this and realize that if you want to prey on Vermont businesses large and small they’re going to have a fight on their hands,” Attorney General, William Sorrell, said by phone on Wednesday.

The patents in question date from the year 2001 and involve technology for scanning documents and attaching them to an email. Despite being around…

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