Sunday, June 30, 2013

Raymond Niro's Why Bash Individual Inventor-Owned or Controlled Companies?

Raymond Niro's Why Bash Individual Inventor-Owned or Controlled Companies - Patent Troll on IP Watchdog is a fascinating account of the context for the first use of the term "patent troll."

Part of the story was familiar: Mr. Niro's client sues Intel for patent infringement then later adds a defamation claim in response to Intel calling it a patent extortionist in a newspaper which led Intel's Peter Detkin and his team to rename his client a patent troll.

Part of the story was less familiar: Intel fails in its attempt to use a corporate shell in a bankruptcy avoidance proceeding not to recover an asset (i.e., the patent) sold for less than fair market value for the creditors' sake, but to knock it out of the patent infringement suit filed against Intel.

Mr. Niro's makes a provocative claim that West Coast tech companies are funding the spate of academic papers bashing individual inventor owned or controlled companies as patent trolls. It seems possible, but I would like to see the evidence supporting this claim. In my mind academic papers should reflect what is best for the public not what is best for a well-funded special interest group, but as a lawyer I am not going to cast stones at companies funding others to advocate for certain legal viewpoints. At the same time, if an author receives funding, it seems fair to ask for disclosure of any funding source (no, naming a shell entity funding won't suffice) so readers can assess the nature of the article.

Copyright © 2013 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.