Patent Attorney Offers $5k For Identity Of Anonymous Patent Troll Tracker

from the getting-under-people's-skin-apparently... dept

A few months back, we discovered the blog of an anonymous IP lawyer called The Patent Troll Tracker. It had great info, and you've probably noticed that we're now linking to stories from that site on a fairly regular basis. Sometime before we became aware of the site however, the Troll Tracker got into a little scuffle with a bigshot patent attorney, Raymond Niro of the law firm Niro, Scavone. The Mises Institute has a recap of the situation, but basically the Troll Tracker had mentioned Niro in a way that Niro felt was unflattering, and Niro asked the Troll Tracker to identify himself -- not, apparently, for a defamation charge, but for patent infringement. How could a blog post (unflattering or not) be considered patent infringement? Apparently, the patent in question, owned by Acacia (who, you may recall is considered the worst patent system offender by the EFF), can be interpreted to mean that posting a JPG image to your site is infringement. It also happens that Niro is the patent attorney who has filed some of Acacia's patent infringement lawsuits, including against the Green Bay Packers for violating this same patent. Apparently, Niro also used the same claim of patent infringement against well-known patent critic Gregory Aharonian. It's an interesting twist on patent infringement cases to use an incredibly broad patent that covers "posting a JPEG to a website" to basically go after anyone you don't like. Somehow, I doubt that's what the founders of the patent system had in mind. Hell, I'd guess that it's not what anyone who had any part in writing patent laws had in mind.

Of course, Niro has run into something of a problem in trying to sue the anonymous Troll Tracker. It's that anonymity bit. So, apparently, he's now put out a $5,000 bounty to anyone who can identify the Troll Tracker. Law.com has more details on this as well as some other odd moves by Niro. Who knows if he will actually sue (though, the earlier stories suggest it's not out of the realm of possibility), but it's stunning that a bigshot patent attorney would be so afraid of an anonymous critic of patent system misuse that he not only would threaten him with patent infringement claims on such an incredibly broad patent, but also is willing to put up $5,000 just to find out the guy's identity. Yes, this is what our patent system has been reduced to. Thomas Jefferson is rolling in his grave.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Bob, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 5:06pm

    This sickens me. On so many levels. Whoever gives away the identity of the anonymous person will be betraying "the intarwebtubes".

     

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    Eric the Grey, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 5:13pm

    Trouble is...

    unless the Patent Troll has changed his image formats, he is not violating the above mentioned patent. Of the two images showing on his blog at this moment, one is a GIF, and the other is a PNG.


    EtG

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 5:37pm

    Dear Raymond Niro:

    Stop being such a colossal failure at both being an attorney and being a human being.

    If you continue to be a failure, we will all laugh at you and make fun of you.

    Sincerely,
    Another anonymous poster on the Internets

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 5:37pm

    What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent article were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this thread is now dumber for having read it. I award you no credit, and may God have mercy on your soul.

     

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  •  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Dec 5th, 2007 @ 6:02pm

    Crapflood this clown.

    Let me be the first.

    I am the Patent Troll Tracker.

    Next?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    French Guard, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 6:47pm

    Niro,

    I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

     

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  •  
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    No Puzzled, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 7:18pm

    Got watch Billy Madison and all will be revealed...

     

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    Travis, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 7:23pm

    Wrong Target?

    The only problem is ... the US Patent Office also uses .JPG's as a part of their layout. Perhaps if they sued the patent office itself, someone would reform this silly process of patent squandering?

     

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  •  
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    Mickey Finn, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 7:33pm

    LIARS!!!!!

    I am the REAL patent troll tracker, all others are imposters!

    M. Finn

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 7:40pm

    Correction:

    I am the Patent Troll Tracker.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    The Patent Troll Tracker, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 8:02pm

    Hey guys, what's going on in here?

     

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    The REAL Patent Troll Tracker, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 8:36pm

    Pay no attention to the man behind the internet anonymity!! I am the great and powerful Patent Troll Tracker, mighty Niros quake at my every move!!!

    Behold my works, ye mighty, and despair...but do not copy, reproduce or in any way utilize my likeness, words, thoughts, posts, concepts, ideas, or the letters comprising any representation of any of the above or the file formats used or the internet. Or anything.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 9:45pm

    um...

    Wouldn't putting a jpeg (or any other format, for that matter) on your site fall under, I dunno, COMMEN KNOWLEDGE!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 9:56pm

    As I understand patent law, if you do not enforce a patent, its very existance can be challanged and the USPTO can make it expire...

     

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      Mike (profile), Dec 5th, 2007 @ 10:28pm

      Re:

      As I understand patent law, if you do not enforce a patent, its very existance can be challanged and the USPTO can make it expire...

      You understand patent law incorrectly. That's true of trademark (in certain situations), not patents.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Shohat, Dec 6th, 2007 @ 1:11am

    Web 2.0 generates Electricity 2.0 !

    Quik, someone wrap some copper wire around Thomas Jefferson !




    On a side note, I am Patent Troll Tracker,

    I can has phive thousand dollarz ?

     

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    Ralph, Dec 6th, 2007 @ 1:17am

    Rewarding customer betrayal

    What if the MPAAs, RIAAs and perhaps oppressive governmental institutions of this world were to start offering internet providers and universities a cut of the settlements and 'damage' sums from users, in return for the personal information needed to threaten and sue? Providers could first check, which data are likely to generate them a high enough extra profit (does it outweigh the risk of being countersued?) and then only pass on the high-level cases. And once they've become good at it - what is to stop them from reporting breaches of Imaginary Property Rights proactively? This should easily compensate for the costs of their data retention.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Dec 6th, 2007 @ 4:22am

    No I'm Spartacus

    Would the real Patent Troll Tracker
    please stand up,
    please stand up,
    please stand up...

     

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  •  
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    angry dude, Dec 6th, 2007 @ 6:48am

    Retards !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hey, techdirt imbeciles

    You are even worse than slashbotters
    Complete idiocy here
    Fun to read though
    Thanks Mike

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Brian, Dec 6th, 2007 @ 11:38am

      Re: Retards !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Funny...you do nothing but provide complete idiocy on this blog on a regular basis. Angry Dude = imbecile. Go somewhere else if you don't like it here...geez.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Dec 6th, 2007 @ 7:10am

    Re #23, Chronno

    *stands up*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    windycityip.com, Dec 8th, 2007 @ 10:43am

    A lot of hostility over 5k bounty

    Wow! I didn't realize the fire that this case has caused. I recently read about it on Patently-O. On a side note, and much more important topic, Billy Madison is the bomb.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    anon, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 9:38am

    Patent trolling

    Patent this: ()*()

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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