Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Patent troll tracker" Frenkel subpoenaed

A post on MarketWatch discusses a subpoena served on Rick Frenkel (the formerly anonymous patent troll tracker) by Scott Harris.

The last three paragraphs of the post are interesting:

Cisco belongs to a group of large companies called the Coalition for Patent Fairness, which has lobbied intensively for legislation that could make filing patent suits a more difficult process for small firms.

Cisco and other coalition members including Google ( have long complained about the large volume of patent suits they face every year from firms that speculate in patents. The legislation that the coalition has promoted, The Patent Reform Act, is expected to receive a Senate vote soon. A version of the legislation was passed in the House last year.

Shortly after Frenkel's identity was revealed, Cisco altered its blogging policy so that employees are required to disclose their identities when writing about the company.

The revised blogging policy at Cisco states:

“If you comment on any aspect of the company’s business or any policy issue the company is involved in where you have responsibility for Cisco’s engagement, you must clearly identify yourself as a Cisco employee in your postings or blog site(s) and include a disclaimer that the views are your own and not those of Cisco. In addition, Cisco employees should not circulate postings that they know are written by other employees without informing the recipient that the source was within Cisco.”

It's not clear that the Patent Reform Act is going to be receiving a Senate vote soon.

It's also not clear that the Patent Reform Act did anything to impair the filing of a patent suit by a small firm.

See also

Frenkel and Yen: the Cisco Kid and Pancho, or the Lone Ranger and Tonto?


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