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]

Dispute[edit]

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]

Litigation claims[edit]

After Rick Frenkel revealed his identity on February 23, 2008,[5][6] in the 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 [were] seeking damages for shame, embarrassment, humiliation, mental pain, and anguish. Further, the attorneys state[d] injuries to their "business reputation, good name, and standing in the community, and [would] 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]

Issues[edit]

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]

Trial[edit]

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]

Career change[edit]

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]

References[edit]

  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!, Forbes.com, 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. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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)

Primary sources[edit]