It “won’t accept any more filings” from the embattled anti-videogame attorney “without the signature of another Florida Bar member.” (DBR). Relatedly, Above the Law is retiring Thompson to a Hall of Fame in which he will be ineligible for further naming as ATL’s Lawyer of the Day, because it just isn’t fair to other lawyers who do outlandish things to let Thompson win so often.
Just as I was about to say I needed to revise my top-ten blog list to include the excellent anony-blogger Patent Troll-Tracker, I learned from today’s Recorder and WSJ that he has revealed himself as Rick Frenkel, Cisco IP attorney.
When I started the blog, I did so mainly out of frustration. I was shocked to learn that a huge portion of the tech industry’s patent disputes were with companies that were shells, with little cash and assets other than patents and a desire to litigate, and did not make and had never made any products. Yet when I would search the Internet for information about these putative licensors, I could find nothing. I was frustrated by the lack of information, and also by the vast array of anti-patent-reform bloggers out there, without a voice supporting what I did believe and still believe is meaningful reform.
(For the record, I liked the blog even before they praised me.) Plaintiffs’ attorney Ray Niro had put a bounty on the identity of the Troll Tracker, who had been critical of Niro’s tactics (as have Walter and I). Frenkel is considering shutting down his blog now that he is out of the closet; one hopes someone else picks up the torch, because he was performing a valuable service, to the extent that I had limited my blogging about it because he had the subject-area covered so well.
I missed the debate in November among Dennis Crouch, Michael Smith, and Frenkel on whether the Eastern District of Texas is “waning” as a magnet jurisdiction for patent plaintiffs (May 2006, Dec. 2005, Jan. 2005), or I might have made reference to it in my latest Liability Outlook on patent reform. Frenkel seems to have the best of that debate, and follows up:
Let’s highlight one really outstanding statistic from November: The number of defendants sued in the Eastern District of Texas in November 2007: 244. The number of defendants sued in Los Angeles, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, New York City, Chicago, Delaware, and New Jersey combined in November 2007: 162.
Patent lawyers often seem to be of a different stripe than other lawyers, and there is a similar patent-law-blogging community largely separate from the other law-bloggers. The commenters go mad at Crouch’s blog over the Frenkel revelation because Cisco is a strong patent reform supporter. Elsewhere: IPBiz; TechDailyDose; NetworkWorld; 271Blog; Mises Blog; and the anti-reform Patent Prospector.
Watch what you say about lawyers, a continuing feature: the blog Troll Tracker has been critical of firms that make a practice of buying up patent rights to sue on them. Now co-founder Ray Niro of the Chicago plaintiffs firm Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro is threatening to sue Troll Tracker for alleged infringement of a patent on a technique sometimes used in web graphics, JPEG decompression. (If a website posts graphics at all, there is a good chance that it is in similar violation of this asserted patent.) Niro also wants the anonymous blawger’s identity unmasked and is offering a bounty toward that end. (TrollTracker, Dec. 4; John Bringardner, “A Bounty of $5,000 to Name Troll Tracker”, IP Law & Business, Dec. 4; via Ambrogi, who appends an extensive list of blogs commenting on the story).
Harry Potter and Photoshop are involved. (Alan K. Henderson, Oct. 31).
According to Robert Ambrogi of Legal Blog Watch, it may have been me (Jul. 16; more). I actually don’t remember whether there were any other law-related blogs when I started out eight years ago. Pioneers like Eugene Volokh were at that point doing things on the internet, but not yet blogging. It’s also possible that there might have been something going that is no longer published, so that Overlawyered might qualify as the oldest surviving legal blog.
Our very first post is here. For several days after that I believe the only reader was me, since I waited until a few posts were up before I began notifying friends about the site.
Also, David Giacalone contributes a haiku for the occasion (scroll).
On Friday I attended New York Law School’s conference “Writing About the Law: From Bluebook to Blogs and Beyond“. Aside from the considerable merits of the program itself (PDF), organized by NYLS’s Cameron Stracher, I met a lot of blawgers, lawprofs and others whose work I’ve been reading for years. At lunch, when Northwestern lawprof Jim Lindgren (Volokh Conspiracy) kindly suggested I join his table, I found myself seated between David Lat (Above the Law) and Ann Althouse; the rest of the table consisted of NYLS professors Jethro Lieberman (The Litigious Society) and Arthur Leonard, and publisher/editor Bernard Hibbitts of Jurist. Earlier in the day, I met Paul Caron (TaxProf), Jack Balkin (Balkinization), and Larry Solum (Legal Theory Blog), as well as catching up with old friend Randy Barnett (Volokh). For more on the program, see Larry Solum’s posts here, here and here, David Lat’s here, here and here and Ann Althouse’s here and (Times Select) here.
On Jan. 28, I attended the pre-launch party in Manhattan for BlawgWorld 2007, a volume produced by the TechnoLawyer people which pulls together a sampling of 2006 posts from 76 law-related blogs, rather like a blog festival in print. Among those I finally met in person was George Lenard of George’s Employment Blawg; I also got to say hello to a number of other blawgers I’d run into previously, including Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith, Esq. and Arnie Herz of Legal Sanity. I can be spotted in a few of the pictures from the event, such as this one, this one and (seeming to pound my hand against the wall, though I was not in fact frustrated) this one. Clearly I should get out more often.