Admitted Patent Troll Finds The Phrase 'Shell Entity' Offensive

from the oh-really? dept

You may recall last year that we wrote about a patent lawsuit where the judge banned the use of the word "patent troll." That seemed reasonable enough, since it's clearly a negatively loaded phrase. However, it looks like some patent attorneys are trying to go even further with that concept. Ray Niro, in defending Scott Harris (who, you may recall, licensed his own patents to be used in lawsuits against his own firms' clients), is demanding that the phrase "shell entities" not be used either, claiming that they, too, are used negatively. That's because, like so many patent holders these days, Harris used shell companies to hold the patents and to sue companies. Of course, "shell entities" is a descriptive term, not one that is clearly designed as an insult like "patent troll."

Besides, this seems quite rich, coming in defense of Harris, who used to own the website And, indeed, the lawyers on the other side of the case wasted no time in pointing this out:
Additionally, the Motion to Strike asserts that the term 'shell entity' is synonymous, in this context, with the term "patent troll." Significantly, Mr. Harris, even while at Fish & Richardson, sponsored a website,, in which he proudly and openly referred to himself as a "patent troll." Truth is an absolute defense.
Separately, it is also rather amusing to see patent system defenders get upset about the phrase "patent trolls" when they're so quick to refer to any sort of patent reform as "patent deform", companies in favor of patent reform "The Piracy Coalition," while, of course, insisting that any individual in favor of patent reform a "shill."
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Filed Under: lawsuits, offensive words, patent trolls, patents, ray niro, scott harris, shell entity

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  1. identicon
    angry dude, 1 Aug 2008 @ 10:16am

    trolls indeed

    I've never heard of any real estate trolls or copyright trolls

    Why patents are different in people's perception ?

    Patents are property rights after all and they should be treated the same way as any other property

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