Richard Frenkel

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Richard "Rick" G. Frenkel [1] (born 1966 or 1967 [2]) was an in-house intellectual property counsel and director of intellectual property at Cisco Systems.[3][4] He was once the anonymous author of the Patent Troll Tracker blog, focusing on the subject of "patent trolls" [2] and "a must-read blog among top intellectual property litigators".[3]

In October 2007, Richard Frenkel made anonymous blog comments on a patent infringement case in which Cisco was the defendant.[3] On the blog, he claimed that the plaintiff, a company named ESN, filed a law suit a day before the patent was issued (which if true meant the case had no legal standing[4]), and that subsequently ESN's local counsel convinced a federal courthouse clerk to switch the date on the docket to the next day.[3] At that time, a $15,000 bounty for his identity had also been offered [4][5] by Chicago attorney Raymond Niro Sr.[2]

After Rick Frenkel revealed his identity on February 23, 2008,[5][6] in entry titled "Live by anonymity, die by anonymity",[2] attorneys T. John Ward, Jr., the son of East Texas federal Judge T. John Ward,[4] and Eric Albritton filed defamation actions against Cisco and Frenkel.[3] "The attorneys are seeking damages for shame, embarrassment, humiliation, mental pain, and anguish. Further, the attorneys state injuries to their "business reputation, good name, and standing in the community, and will be exposed to the hatred, contempt, and ridicule of the public in general as well as of his business associates, clients, friends, and relatives."" [4]

The case raised questions about the risks of blogging anonymously,[2] and received wide publicity in the blogosphere as it was thought that the lawsuits could result in precedents to be applied to future bloggers.[4] Subsequently, Cisco updated its policy on employee blogging.[7]

The Albritton case went to trial in Tyler, Texas on September 14, 2009.[8] After Judge Richard A. Schell ruled that Albritton had to prove actual malice to be eligible for punitive damages, the litigation settled.[9] The Ward case—which was filed against Cisco and not Frenkel—settled in January 2010.[10]

Frenkel left Cisco in August 2008 to join the Palo Alto office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati as a patent litigator.[11] He was a partner with the firm.[12] At the time he joined the firm, he said he was done with blogging.[11]


  1. ^ United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Patent Attorney/Agent database entry for Richard G. Frenkel. Retrieved on March 15, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e Michael Orey, Busting a Rogue Blogger, BusinessWeek, March 27, 2008. Consulted on April 4, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e Asher Hawkins, Shut Up, Already!,, March 11, 2008. Retrieved on March 15, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Michelle Massey, Patent troll tracker sued for defamation, The Southeast Texas Record, March 13, 2008. Retrieved on March 15, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Niraj Chokshi, Mystery patent blogger is Cisco in-houser, Legal Week, February 26, 2008. Retrieved on March 15, 2008.
  6. ^ Stuart Weinberg, Controversial Blog on Patent Suits Is Authored by Cisco Executive, Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2008.
  7. ^ Lessons Learned….Cisco Updates Policy on Employee Blogging, The Platform, The Official Cisco Blog, March 24, 2008. Consulted on April 5, 2008.
  8. ^ Trial Kicks Off in Suit Over Blog Post By Cisco In-House Lawyer, Brenda Jeffries, Texas Lawyer, September 16, 2009. Consulted on July 24, 2010.
  9. ^ Troll Tracker Defamation Case Settles Before Going To Jury, Joe Mullin, The Prior Art Blog, September 22, 2009. Consulted on July 24, 2010.
  10. ^ Cisco Systems Settles Defamation Suit Over Blog Posting, Brenda Jeffries, Texas Lawyer, January 19, 2010. Consulted on July 24, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Cisco Blogger Decamps To Wilson Sonsini, Zusha Ellison, The Recorder, August 6, 2008. Consulted on July 24, 2010.
  12. ^ "Richard G. Frenkel". Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Archived from the original on November 25, 2009. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 


  • Richard G. Frenkel, Intellectual Property in the Balance: Proposals for Improving Industrial Design Protection in the Post-TRIPS Era, 32 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 531, 541 (1999) (pdf)

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