April 21, 2014

The Dangers of Anonymous Blogging

BusinessWeek reports on anonymous blogging gone bad in a recent article Busting a Rogue Blogger.

Yes, there’s controversy in the sexy world of patent litigation, as Troll Tracker–formerly anonymous, now outed as Rick Frenkel–a blogger who writes on patent trolling, was outed as a Cisco employee. Why is this relevant? Because Frenkel was blogging about the very issues that Cisco was in court over.

Apparently Cisco didn’t know that they employed the Troll Tracker, but Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler cited the blog as an “independent source of information” while lobbying for changes in patent laws that would be beneficial to Cisco.

Death threats, bounties on the Troll Tracker’s identity, and litigation followed.

Cisco has since established some blogging policies, but they probably won’t help them in court. Even if these policies had been in place before Frankel started blogging anonymously, they probably wouldn’t save them from litigation.

Perhaps it’s time to start to develop your own business blogging policies for employees? What policies do you currently have in place?

4 comments for The Dangers of Anonymous Blogging »

  1. Do you really believe “Apparently Cisco didn’t know that they employed the Troll Tracker”?

    Companies like Cisco try to compensate for their inventive inadequacies with quantity. It is about quantity because they are incapable of producing a significant quality invention. What they have learned the hard way is that quantity is not a substitute for quality except when they are cross licensing with other washed up tech companies who are equally incapable of producing or even recognizing quality.

    Inventors spawn new industries, generally at the expense of vested interests. Once an inventor creates a new industry parasites quickly jump in to peal off a bit of the profit for themselves. Those parasites often make big killings and then use their ill gotten gains to first steal other’s patent properties and then to drive the legitimate owner in bankruptcy through abuse of the process of law.

    AND, they also become very inventive with the facts for their PR machine.

    Personally I view Cisco as one of those parasites. I am not at all surprised that the Troll Tracker (Rick Frenkel) is employed by Cisco. Has anyone seen him express even one itty bitty creative thought?

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow – http://www.patentPolicy.org
    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.

    Comment by Ronald J Riley — April 5, 2008 @ 8:50 pm


  2. Cisco has a bad reputation in the inventor community and Rick Frenkel’s conduct on behalf of the company demonstrates why! Tell me what the implications are of the chief patent counsel of Cisco characterizing a court which is hearing cases related to their blatant infringement of other’s patent properties as a “banana republic court” and who has apparently libeled their opponents. Cisco has been caught red handed using very questionable tactics.

    Some companies like to characterize inventors and companies who create or own patents and who have the audacity to fight back when those patent pirates try to abscond with their property with the slur “trolls” and for some reason media swallows the troll slur without question. So I am writing yet again to give all another perspective on this issue. It is my hope that you will step back and reconsider the whole issue and consider inventor’s perspective and plight.

    A handful of inventors, small to medium sized businesses, and universities have deep enough pockets to be able to handle enforcing their patent rights.

    For others the risk of expensive patent litigation forces them to standby while their inventions are appropriated by corporate bullies. Fortunately the market has produced a solution for the higher value takings of inventors property rights.

    That solution was originally contingency litigators. But this still required an inventor to raise between $100,000 and $500,000 or more to pay costs. For many that amount was still out of reach and patent pirates got away with raping and pillaging our property and the inventors were usually crushed with barely a whimper.

    But then a new business model evolved. It is that business model which has deep enough pockets to take on big companies which those companies call trolls. But let me assure you that one persons “troll” is another persons savior. Many inventors have achieved some measure of justice by partnering with these enforcement companies.

    Typically a patent enforcement company gets half of any settlements but they take ALL the risk – risk of anything from two million to tens of millions of dollars. For inventors who cannot raise two or more million dollars to pay for a patent infringement case their choice is half of something or all of nothing. For the majority of inventors their reward for inventing was to get nothing, that is nothing except to be raped and have their property pillaged by a patent pirate.

    I am appending a link to a speech made by Ray Niro which may enlighten you about the history of how and why the “troll” slur was coined. It is a story which is
    all too common, a story where a patent pirate abuses the process of law to run a small company out of business and then has the audacity to paint their victims as bad players. That company’s patents were purchased because they have real and significant value and the infringer then howled about a company who had not been able to commercialize because of the patent pirate’s conduct.

    http://www.piausa.org/patent_reform/articles/raymond_p_niro_08_04_2005

    You are right that innovation is threatened, but dead wrong as to what the source of the threat is. It is truly ironic that journalists are being swayed by the PR campaign of patent pirates who are the real threat to those who produce inventions and who cannot continue to produce inventions if patent pirates can simply take what the want with impunity.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President – http://www.PIAUSA.org – RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director – http://www.InventorEd.org – RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow – http://www.patentPolicy.org
    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.

    Comment by Ronald J Riley — April 7, 2008 @ 4:41 pm


  3. Lately there is so much talk of internet privacy and invasion of that privacy that I am seriously considering deleting all my websites.
    People are not aware that comments, social networking sites, emails, IP adresses, blogs and website info can all be added together with business listings about your address and telephone number and it is all very unnerving as once indexed google will not delete these pages.
    I hope this is scaremongering more then anything else.

    Comment by Anne — April 7, 2008 @ 5:15 pm


  4. In reference to the above comments by Ronald Riley, it may be helpful to know that he is not a licensed patent lawyer, not a registered patent agent, not a legal scholar on patent rights and not an employee or ex-employee of The US Patent Office. He is a self-proclaimed “expert” on patent law without any university training on the legalities in this field. He is not a Ph.D. on intellectual property rights and is not part of any effective lobbying group that could seriously lead to change. In other words, Ronald J. Riley has absolutely no qualifications for offering his off-the-cuff opinions on the validity of the patent system. Even though he sounds authoritative and says that he consults with “legal scholars”, he is just a novice trying to sound important. Most of the time, he has no idea what he’s talking about. In addition, Ronald J. Riley has created several inventor related organizations with several websites. He has appointed himself “President” and “Director” of these little known groups and asks for donations on every page. He even takes credit cards! What are these donations for? To support his efforts to write nonsense about the patent system? If anyone is seriously looking for legal advice on patent law or the USPTO, you should consult with a qualified legal professional. Ronald J. Riley may have read a couple of books about patent law, but he is certainly not a patent attorney or anyone that should be taken seriously on these matters.

    Comment by William A. Scott — April 30, 2008 @ 7:26 pm


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