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Eight months ago, small- and medium-sized businesses around the country started getting threats from mysterious six-letter entities like AllLed, GosNel, and AdzPro. The letters suggested that the network of shell companies owned several key patents that cover scanning to PDF documents, and they demanded payments of around $1,000 per worker.It's the kind of patent licensing that, in earlier times, would typically be directed against the makers of a technology, not the end users. But the reality is that patent attacks against end users are proliferating. The Electronic Frontier Foundation noted several recent and disturbing examples in a blog post published yesterday.In April, Ars interviewed Brian Farney, one of the lawyers managing the MPHJ scheme, which controls the 40 six-letter shell companies sending infringement notices to end users. Farney said that users were the only appropriate targets of the MPHJ patents because the patents are only infringed when the scanners are combined with a local network, a step that is performed by the users. Farney said he has spoken to the scanner companies and found that they do not infringe.