“Meet the original patent troll”

“Troll was a derivative of, er, me,” says Chicago patent litigator Raymond Niro, a pioneer of contingency-fee IP practice:

Niro’s former partner Gerald Hosier found fame and fortune turning Jerome Lemelson’s patents on bar code technology into a billion-dollar licensing business. But Niro taught the patent world a more enduring lesson: Lemelson isn’t unique. Like an irritating mosquito that GCs can’t squash, Hosier’s licensing approach could be applied over and over again, on different patents across different industries for huge profits. Niro has extracted royalties on everything from patents covering hemodialysis catheters to wireless technology used to locate items of interest in online maps. In the process, he’s made some serious royalties of his own: a Falcon 10 jet, six Ferraris, acres of land in Chicago, Boca Raton and Aspen, and a $250,000 gift to DePaul University endowing the Raymond P. Niro professorship in intellectual property law…. Love him or hate him, Niro’s methods have become ingrained in the patent world.

(Lisa Lerer, IP Law & Business/Law.com, Jul. 20).

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