In the decade-plus history of the modern patent troll, perhaps none other has received as much attention from the government as MPHJ Technologies.

The notorious “scanner trolls” began sending out threatening letters to small businesses late last year.

The letters insist that anyone using a common office scanner was violating its patents and needed to pay up, to the tune of up to $1,200 per worker.

The MPHJ campaign, led by the Texas law firm Farney Daniels, has become quickly notorious. It’s been mentioned by more than one member of Congress looking to reform the patent system. Targeting small businesses has also generated push-back from an unprecedented source: state attorneys general. First, the Vermont attorney general sued MPHJ, saying that it violated state consumer protection laws. In that state, the patent-licensing company sent demand letters to at least two non-profits, including one that helps developmentally disabled adults. Next, Nebraska’s AG told the company to back off.     

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