24 February 2008

Let Us Now Praise Patent Troll Trackers

So the anonymous patent troll tracker is anonymous no more:

My name is Rick Frenkel. I started in IP over 10 years ago, as a law clerk at Lyon & Lyon in Los Angeles. After a few years there as a law clerk and attorney, I litigated patent cases for several years at Irell & Manella. Two years ago I moved to the Valley and went in-house at Cisco. In my career, I have represented plaintiffs, defendants, large companies, small companies, individual inventors, universities, and everything in between. I currently work at Cisco.

Do I care? Not a jot. What I care about is this:

Now that I have been unmasked, I’m not sure where the blog is going from here. I’d like to keep it going. For one, I still have quite a few post ideas in me (indeed, I have several already prepared, waiting to go). Further, there aren’t many in-house counsel blogging, and I think we deserve a voice. I’m going to take off the next couple of weeks to think it over.

He can be called Rick or Rumpelstiltskin for all I care: he performs a hugely valuable service that the world of computing would be poorer without. Let's hope those couple of weeks of thinking it over mark a hiatus and not a halt.


Anonymous said...

Well, far from being just another patent lawyer, Rick Frenkel turned out to be none other than a propaganda tool for Cisco. He is not "just another patent lawyer" -- he is the DIRECTOR OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, responsible for ALL IP matters at Cisco.

Ciso, of course, along with Microsoft and Intel, has been at the forefront of the patent "reform" for its self-interests by,using among other things, massive funds for campaign contributions and promises to build plants in certain districts.

The patent system is not perfect; it could use improvements on many fronts. But, what you have witnessed over the past 6 months or so through the so-called Patent Troll Tracker is how powerful and pervasive these special corporate interests are.

They have attempted to push their agenda through our Congressmen using campaign contributions and other inducements. They have perpetrated often false impressions in the mainstream media through its powerful lobbying and PR firms.

What has been revealed is that they have also tried (anonymously) to create grassroots support by pushing their agenda through the Patent Troll Tracker.

Glyn Moody said...

Well, I have to say that's not my impression. The Patent Troll Tracker's writing seem to track, well, trolls, which are frankly destroying the US patent system, and threaten to damage those elsewhere by extension.

As for the patent reform that's being contemplated in the US, it's certainly not perfect, but seems at least to have some provisions that will help to reduce trolling by companies that produce nothing, will never produce anything, and are simply using patents for a kind of vaguely legitimate extortion.

But you're right that what is needed is a much more thorough-going reform, with business process and software patents thrown out completely, and the rules for obviousness and novelty tightened up.

The good news is that Supreme Court of the US seems finally to have waken up to havoc caused by trolls and the ridiculously wide patenting of ideas - not inventions. If trolls have brought any benefit, it's that their outrageous behaviour may well have triggered their own demise.

Anonymous said...

Praise patent troll trackers? Really?

Just days ago the Troll Tracker told his readers that he was "always interested in fair reporting") (http://trolltracker.blogspot.com/2008/02/email-from-sorensen.html) Well, let’s see if he really is.

After sitting at his computer and sniping against “patent trolls” anonymously all this time, he should continuing blogging, but with his true identity and biases available for all to see. Let his readers judge his thoughts, impressions, information, definitions, and categorizations with full knowledge of who he is and who pays his salary, and then we can see how he fares under a “fair reporting” standard of review.

First, he ought to remove the restriction on comments on his unmasking post. “Fair reporting” does not restrict commenting when the comments are not nice.

Second, why doesn't Mr. Frankel publish the anonymous email that scared him into unmasking himself. He has been happy to publish threatening emails from Ray Niro and his responses to him, why not publish the email the threat email so his readers can fully understand the nature of the threat against him? Let the Troll Tracker readers see the "virtual gun" that was put to his head that induced him to confess.

Third, let’s talk about his blogging about his employer – Cisco. Imagine my surprise when I reviewed Troll Tracker prior posts and found not only cursory reference to Cisco, but the posting of specific, negative allegations about opposing counsel and the EDTX court clerk regarding a patent infringement case against Cisco (http://trolltracker.blogspot.com/2007/10/esn-convinces-edtx-court-clerk-to-alter.html) and (http://trolltracker.blogspot.com/2007/10/troll-jumps-gun-sues-cisco-too-early.html). He cited anonymous emails as his source, yet clearly he should have received or obtained that information as part of his salaried job. Why didn’t he disclose that relevant detail with his readers? Instead he tried to place a positive light on Cisco, stating “One interesting tidbit: Cisco appeared to pick up on this, very quickly.”

The self-appointed "troll tracker" ought to suck it up, take the negative comments with the good, and rejoin the discussion of patent litigation with integrity and honesty. I dare him!

Glyn Moody said...

I agree that anonymous posting is problematic, although there may be good reasons in some cases. And certainly I hope that he continues to post, this time non-anonymously.