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FTC’s focus on ‘patent trolls’ not limited to competition concerns

The FTC sent a message to “patent trolls” earlier this month, though how well that message will resonate remains to be seen. On Nov. 6, the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection concluded its investigation into MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC’s practices involving its so-called “inquiry letters” by agreeing to accept a consent order. The consent order addresses two sets of misrepresentations contained in various letters that MPHJ sent to alleged infringers of MPHJ patents. First, the FTC found that MPHJ misrepresented that they had sold a substantial number of licenses within a certain price range; second, they misrepresented that they intended …

How a smile might change the fortune of state licensing

One of the most important cases the U.S. Supreme Court will decide this year—at least with respect to antitrust law—involves the question of whether dentists in North Carolina can maintain a monopoly over teeth whitening services. While it hasn’t generated nearly the level of public attention as cases involving marriage equality or voting rights, North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, argued before the Court last week, could have a significant impact on the ability of state agencies to regulate specific industries and professions, particularly healthcare.

Background
Created by state statute, the purpose of the North …

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