Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez is expected today to ask the full panel to conduct a broad inquiry into the conduct of so-called "patent trolls," according to a newspaper report that says the regulator likely will subpoena executives from the targeted companies. Patent-assertion entities, as they are known, earn revenues by demanding royalties for technology patents that they collect in large numbers. On Wednesday, for example, Intellectual Ventures sued Motorola Mobility claiming that several of its smartphones violated seven of the company's patents.

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