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. icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), 6 Aug 2008 @ 6:14am

    Piracy Coalition

    Mike, reasonable people might think that you are a shill for those who pirate other's patent properties.

    There is a reason that so many people are spewing patent troll nonsense. The reason is that the Piracy Coalition has been spending several hundred million dollars a year to create the myth of their being waylaid by trolls.

    The reality is much different. Every inventor thinks that their invention is the most beautiful baby. They promptly tell all who will listen about their baby. One out of ten of the companies who look at the invention will introduce an infringing product about a year later. The inventor then go back to them seeking a license deal and after a year or two of getting jerked around the inventor finds themselves a patent enforcement entity and proceeds to adjust the patent pirate's attitude.

    That is when the patent pirating entity's PR machine goes into overdrive claiming that they are being abused by a vicious troll.
    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    President - - RJR at
    Executive Director - - RJR at
    Senior Fellow -
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

    Many large companies do listen, but with larceny in their hearts. Trying to do business with these companies is much like

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