12.06.16

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Good Riddance. Ray Niro is Dead.

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 3:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The infamous father of patent trolling is dead, so we need to remember his real legacy rather than rewrite his history to appease his rich relatives (enriched by destroying real companies)

SEVERAL years ago we wrote a lot of articles about the thug and troll Ray Niro, whose ugly legacy we summarised in this Wiki page. We have hardly heard his name for years, but today IP Kat pays respect to this father of patent trolling as if there is a duty to say something nice because he is dead. Our own list of articles about him can say a lot about how horrible a person he was, but obituaries in news sites are unbelievable pieces of hogwash. Won’t they just stop eulogising this thug?

Just because he’s dead doesn’t mean he was benign or even benevolent. He was a malicious person. As someone has just put it in relation to Acacia: “Argh. F****** patent troll. Fired people & sued people who actually made stuff, hence profitable quarter. Patent trolls…”

Niro was the initiator of all this. He has had so many victims. He has done enormous damage to the US, which is now infested by trolls. Speaking of which, IAM and their troll friends, who are hoping to expand in China (and are succeeding at that to some degree), have come to China with their agenda. Once of Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll which is connected to Niro, Blumberg played a role in IAM’s extravaganza in the East. To quote the relevant part:

Talking trolls – While the debate around ‘patent trolls’ using poor quality patents to extract low value litigation settlements has dominated IP policy discussions in the US, there has been relatively little focus on it in China. To what extent that might change was brought up in the second plenary session today by Lenovo’s head of IP Ira Blumberg. Asked by session moderator Brian Hinman, the chief IP officer of Philips, to identify the things that keep him up at night, Blumberg said that his long-term concern was that if patent damages awards continued to increase, the number of patents available to buy continued to grow as a result of widespread filing and with preliminary and permanent injunctions available, then ‘patent trolls’ could become a major problem in the Chinese market. “If handled in the wrong way China could be beset by trolls,” he commented. As well as the prospect of higher damages and the growing threat of patent owners obtaining injunctive relief, the real threat to the Chinese market stems from the fact that it is such a large manufacturing hub. That gives patent owners great scope to disrupt a company’s production facility or its supply chain and might mean foreign and local businesses start to look to other jurisdictions to make their products. “If courts give out big awards then the natural reaction will be for companies to relocate their manufacturing,” Blumberg warned. “China needs to be very careful about how its patent system develops.” Once of Intellectual Ventures, Blumberg has become a vocal critic of trolling over recent years. As we have seen in the US, though, the problem with focusing on finding solutions to combat the perceived threat this business model poses often ends up causing a lot of unintended harm. The Chinese authorities would do well to consider that when they hear the kinds of dire warnings issued by Blumberg this morning. He does have a point, but careful, nuanced policy-making is perhaps the best way to solve any problems that arise. Looking to Europe, rather than the US, and finding out why there is no real troll problem there may also be a good idea. What is clear, though, is that as the Chinese patent litigation market does become more high-profile and more high-stakes, the troll debate is going to have to take place in the country.

This disease which is patent trolls needs to be purged. We can only remember Niro as the horrible person who started this disease. After his death many can breathe a sigh of relief, but his death alone isn’t enough to make his legacy of trolls go away.

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