By EDWARD WYATT -
Stepping into a volatile debate in the technology sector, the Federal Trade Commission on Friday said it would use its subpoena power to begin an investigation of so-called patent trolls, businesses whose primary purpose is to stockpile patents and use them to sue other companies.
The action, which the commission’s chairwoman recommended in June, is the first step in what is likely to be a lengthy and broad investigation. It could eventually result in antitrust enforcement against some of the companies and could provide momentum for efforts under way in Congress to tighten restrictions on such lawsuits.
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