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.

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Comments on “Patent Attorney Offers $5k For Identity Of Anonymous Patent Troll Tracker”

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30 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

The REAL Patent Troll Tracker says:

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.

Ralph says:

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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