Robert J. Ambrogi at Legal Blog Watch reports on the strange unfolding of a spat between lawyer Raymond Niro, co-founder of Chicago plaintiffs’ IP firm Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro, and the anonymous author of the blog Patent Troll Tracker. In an article in IP Law & Business, Niro offered $5,000 “to anyone that can provide information that leads me to the identity of Troll Tracker.”
Niro says he wants to find out the name of the Troll Tracker in order to sue for patent infringement. Niro noted that “I view these people [anonymous bloggers] as know-nothings, afraid to reveal their identity.” Troll Tracker thinks this is just a publicity stunt, to get him attention.
The Mises Institute has a review of the events but it seems that the Troll Tracker described Niro in an unflattering way and now Niro wants to get Troll Tracker for patent infringement. So, just how can blogging be considered patent infringement? Apparently, the patent in question, owned by
Acacia Global Patent Holdings, can cover the display of .jpg images on web sites.
IP Law & Business explains:
“[I]t is the same patent Niro used to try and silence another vocal critic nearly a decade before. In 2000 Niro filed suit to enforce the patent against the Green Bay Packers, a now-defunct porn site, and others. Greg Aharonian, the unabashedly outspoken author of the Internet Patent News Service, derided Niro’s patent as ‘crap,’ and Niro added him to the suit. A third party filed for a reexamination of the ’341 patent, and this September, seven years later, it emerged with one claim left intact.”
The patent in question is U.S. Pat. No. 5,253,341, entitled “Remote query communication system.”
Who knew that the law could be so interesting?
Update: See Niro’s Response here.