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Lawyer Puts $10k Bounty on Blogger's Identity 286

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the turn-yourself-in-for-ten-grand dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Raymond Niro of Niro Scavone Haller & Niro is fighting back against criticism from the Patent Troll Tracker blog by offering a $10,000 bounty for the identity of the person behind it. He thinks the blogger might work for Microsoft, Intel, or has connections to a 'serial infringer' and that could 'color' what they say."
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Lawyer Puts $10k Bounty on Blogger's Identity

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:12PM (#22214846) Journal
    This reminds me of the time Richard Stallman offered a half eaten french fry and all the change he could find in all the couches of MIT's student commons area for the identity of an Anonymous Coward on Slashdot that called him a "tree hugging bearded hippie."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cdrdude (904978)
      It was half eaten? Stallman said it came that way :(
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mrmeval (662166)
      I'll give a half eaten tortas and a bag of doritos if someone posts the lawyers home address and phone number. I'll through in some guacamole dip if you can get his cell phone number.

      El tortas no es una mentira!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:10PM (#22217252)
        Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro, Ltd.
        Business address: Suite 4600, 181 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60602-4515
        Phone: (312) 236-0733
        Fax: (312) 236-3137

        Unfortunately, he has the same name as the firm's president and senior partner (Raymond P. Niro, Sr.), so it's hard to separate out their records.
        They appear to have homes in Barrington, IL, Arlington Heights, IL, Chicago, IL and Snowmass Village, CO (perhaps they like to ski).
        For some reason, even though the law firm is in Chicago, the president's address in its corporate filing shows his home as 2401 Spanish River Road, Boca Raton, FL 33432, phone (561) 362-7371.
        Another address seems to be 1005 N Arlington Heights Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60004-5669, phone (847) 749-1208.

        Their addresses within Chicago are likely to be:
        Raymond P. Niro, Sr. - 181 W Madison St, Ste 4600, Chicago, IL 60602-4635, phone (312) 236-0733
        Raymond P. Niro, Jr. - 25 E Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604-2201, phone (312) 362-8701

        Oh, and just in case Raymond P. Niro, Sr., his wife Judith, or Raymond P. Niro, Jr., are reading this - all this information is publically available, so don't even think of suing.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          You idiot. You posted anonymously. Now how are you going to get your Doritos?
    • by russotto (537200)

      for the identity of an Anonymous Coward on Slashdot that called him a "tree hugging bearded hippie."
      That was me. I pushed the "Post Anonymously" button by accident. Also I am Spartacus.
  • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:15PM (#22214900) Homepage Journal
    Truth is a defense for libel. So long as the blogger in question has not made any actual false statements, and has couched all opinions as such, rather than as facts--then he should STFU and GBTW.

    But then, if he's a patent troll, he's rather defined as "not being able to STFU and do something useful," now, is he?
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:22PM (#22215008) Journal

      Truth is a defense for libel.
      Yeah, but what about 'truthiness'? If Niro, Jabba, Hutt & Niro hope to pursue litigation, how do they deal with someone who has a gut feeling that what they are doing is generally wrong?

      After reading his blog [blogspot.com] it's evident that this bounty is the only thing this lawyer can do. This blogger is good with what he writes and knows his limits. They won't be able to force blogspot into divulging that info without a warrant in my opinion though I am not a lawyer, I still have a soul.

      Have they tried asking Mr. Troll Tracker nicely? He lists his e-mail as trolltracker@gmail.com ...
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by KublaiKhan (522918)
        Perhaps I could email Mr. Troll Tracker and let 'im know that I could use the $10k, and could I have his contact information to pass onto this sad sack of a lawyer who apparently is unable to engage any of the numerous detective firms out there who could find his information for much less--or even to take the time to ask nicely?

        Whaddaya think, would it work? I really could use the $10k...trying to save up for a wedding, and it's slow going.
        • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:31PM (#22215136) Journal

          ... lawyer who apparently is unable to engage any of the numerous detective firms out there who could find his information for much less ...
          Unable? I thought exactly the opposite when I read this. I think this Niro lawyer probably wants people to know he's taking this route. I figured it was a lawyer showing his true colors. He's making a public announcement that typically comes from gangsters who have grown too powerful. It is something to the effect of:

          "I am the law. I have so much money and disposable income that I pay any problem away without batting an eye. You want to start a blog criticizing me? Well, this is how I deal with you. I don't have time for warrants and regular channels. I will find out who you are and make you pay. Let this be a lesson/example for the rest of you."
          And that, my fellow Americans, is the stench of corruption. Fix it or face becoming a victim yourself.
      • by TheSkyIsPurple (901118) on Monday January 28, 2008 @08:04PM (#22215626)
        I was involved in a libel suit awhile back, and the court was not thrilled with the whole anonymous thing.

        That court at least was of the opinion that if I was doing something anonymously then I clearly knew I was doing something wrong.
        (Completely missing the argument that what I did was legal, and I was trying to avoid being in court making the argument that it was legal because I knew one of the other parties was a litigious psychopath... in my opinion ;-) )
    • by norton_I (64015)
      Well, so far there is no legal action. He is just offering $10,000 to anyone who can tell him who the guy is.

      Presumably if he had a legitimate case, he wouldn't bother with that, he would file suit against the anonymous blogger and try to get the courts in force the ISP to release the records. Since he apparently hasn't done so, presumably he thinks nothing illegal is going on, he just wants to out the blogger publicly.
      • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:50PM (#22215430) Homepage Journal
        Look at the list(and pockets) of the companies that he thinks the blogger may work for. More than likely what he is hoping for is that the blogger works for big company X, and then he can sue big company X for a lot, and in order to avoid (potential) embarrassment and/or the potential for a huge loss, he assumes that big company X will settle out of court for a handsome sum.
      • by multisync (218450)

        he just wants to out the blogger publicly


        Or dig up dirt with which to discredit the blogger. If you can't beat him with facts, get him with his own dirty laundry.
    • Yes, but mounting that defense can be cost prohibitive if you don't live in a SLAPP, state. [wikipedia.org]
      -nB
    • by russ1337 (938915) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:25PM (#22215060)
      this post [blogspot.com] has a list of what he's said and why the Blogger has a 'bounty' on him. Here's the summary:

      Here is a grand summary of my posts about Ray Niro (you can click on the Niro Scavone labels [blogspot.com] to read them all):

      1) I posted Fish & Richardson's allegations against him. But those were F&R's words, not my own. By the way, the judge granted expedited discovery to allow F&R to determine whether to add Ray Niro personally as a defendant. And if F&R does sue Niro, personally, I'll report about it here. Which is not disparaging him, just reporting.

      2) I posted about how Niro secured a permanent injunction that was stayed in light of BMC v. Paymentech. True!

      3) I dared Niro to sue the New York Yankees in Boston on the '341 patent. But I don't think he wants to litigate out of state. C'mon Ray, if you want to stay in Chicago, at least add the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings as defendants, too. (They have JPEG [detroitlions.com] images [vikings.com]).

      4) I reported that he represents Acacia in a bit of patent litigation. All true.

      5) I speculated that he actually represents non-practicing entities as a fair amount of his overall practice. Also, true.
      • by Basehart (633304)
        If someone wrote that shit about me I'd want to know wtf they were talking about!
      • 1) I posted Fish & Richardson's allegations against him. But those were F&R's words, not my own. By the way, the judge granted expedited discovery to allow F&R to determine whether to add Ray Niro personally as a defendant. And if F&R does sue Niro, personally, I'll report about it here. Which is not disparaging him, just reporting.

        I don't know about U.S, law, but here in Australia it is no defence for defamation to claim that you were merely relaying someone else's defamatory statements. I
    • Truth is a defense for libel.

      True... but you still have pay for *your* defense - even if you 100% in the right. That sucks.
    • So long as the blogger in question has not made any actual false statements, and has couched all opinions as such, rather than as facts--then he should STFU and GBTW.
      I print out all my opinion blog posts and keep them on my sofa.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by arizwebfoot (1228544)
      Yeah, truth IS a defense for libel, but not an absolute defense. If you hold someone up to public ridicule, regardless of the level of truth, you can still be guilty of either libel or if it's spoken, slander.
    • These days, a good attorney is a good defense, not the truth. You can have all the truth on your side, but if you cannot afford a good lawyer, proper procedures will not be followed (because you do not know them), and the judge will think you are wrong.

      In our times, it is money, not the truth, that shall set you free.
    • ...he isn't accusing him of libel. RTFA. And no, I'm not going to sit here and explain to you why he wants the guy's identity, you are just going to have click on the link and READ THE F****** ARTICLE! Its not particularly long, it shouldn't be that hard to read it. And don't give me any "You must be new here" responses. I know /.ers have a habit of writing before reading, but thats not something to be proud of.
  • by ProteusQ (665382) <dontbother@nowhe r e . c om> on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:18PM (#22214944) Journal
    CowboyNeal. Isn't that the answer to everything around here?

    (Attention lawyers: I'm _kidding_! Put the subpoena down!)
  • by Alexx K (1167919) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:20PM (#22214972)

    It's not even been a week since The smartphone was patented [slashdot.org], and now we've got people wanting to sue for criticising patent trolls. I thought America was the "land of the free". Oh wait, it is, if you've got millions of dollars in your pocket and a lot of lawyers.

    What's saddening is that this stuff never makes it to the mainstream media.

    • by riseoftheindividual (1214958) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:52PM (#22215474) Homepage
      I thought America was the "land of the free"

      That's a common mondegreen... it's actually "Land of the FEE". Don't sweat it, I used to believe it was "free" myself.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MightyMartian (840721)
      Just remember, Jesus loves patent trolls. He wants greedy non-innovating lawyers to flood the patent office with useless and obviously ludicrous patents. Jesus loves lawyers, and wants them to make vast sums at the expense of the public, because Jesus hates the common man.

      (See previous references as to why Jesus hates the poor. Let's remember, Jesus only loves money, and those with lots of it).
    • I thought America was the "land of the free".
      In short:
      Don't believe the hype.

      IMO, freedom is never something you have (despite what someone else or some piece of paper says), but always something you fight for (despite what someone else or some piece of paper says). Tyranny isn't the enemy of freedom, complacency is. But then again, I'm a pretty cynical bastard.
    • The biggest flaw with the current civil litigation system is that punitive damages have become as much about making the winning plaintiff rich, as its original purpose to chastise the defendant.
      The simple solution is a plaintiff is only entitled to actual damages and make all punitive damages awarded to the government. This gets the punitive portion back to it's original purpose punish the loser to protect the public. It also forces the plaintiff to demonstrate they have been materially impacted to get ac
    • by LordEd (840443)
      Its not "Land of the Free", its 'Land of the Free'*

      * Some restrictions apply. Company may alter terms of the agreement without notification. No purchase necessary; for freedom without purchase, place a self marked voting ballot in the box. Freedom is provide as-is. User takes full responsibility for use of freedom. Approximate cash value is 1/10 cent. Freedom is subject to all Federal, State, Provincial and Municipal laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.
  • Scam him! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Find some random guy i thailand, cut a deal with him to admit it's him.
    Laugh at said lawyer.
    Untill he realises it and offers another 10k bounty for your identity.
  • great publicity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nguy (1207026) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:21PM (#22214994)
    Thanks! I hadn't heard of this blog before, but now that the $10k bounty has been offered, I know about it. Great publicity!
    • by russ1337 (938915)
      The Anonymous Blogger has already offered (on their blog [blogspot.com]) to turn themselves over to Niro if the bounty hits $50K.

  • Tu quoque (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MyNymWasTaken (879908) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:22PM (#22215006)
    A position isn't false, or wrong, because its proponent fails to consistently act in accordance with said position.
  • Doosh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caspper69 (548511) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:22PM (#22215012)
    "Is he an employee with Intel or Microsoft? Does he have a connection with serial infringers? I think that would color what he has to say."

    This is douchebag lawyer speak for "companies that spend money researching, developing and selling products." Unlike his clients who think up obvious ideas and rush to file a patent, without ever doing a bit of work. It's scumbags like this that exacerbate the terrible state of our patent system. I for one can't wait until there's real reform and this guy's out of business.
    • by Dr Caleb (121505)
      "Raymond Niro of Niro Scavone Haller & Niro"

      And of such girth that he needs his name mentioned 3 times on every business card.
    • Re:Doosh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by canuck57 (662392) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:50PM (#22215440)

      I for one can't wait until there's real reform and this guy's out of business.

      Don't hold your breath. For the most part it were elected lawyers who made the law in the first place. Make a problem like the patent system, then profit by it.

      I too would like to see all software patents expired. It is hindering innovation and diversity in this business. Even if a patent is blatantly prior art, frivolous and meaningless, it can bankrupt most in just defending off an attack by the vultures. Thus, kicks the little guys out.



      • I'm no fan of the patent lawyers, but simply reading your wish of "I too would like to see all software patents expired. It is hindering innovation and diversity in this business" makes me think we would lose a lot. Companies invest a lot developing not-fun-to-code stuff that ends up being lucrative. To get rid of software patents would mean large companies would have little R & D incentive in software.

        Seth
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cduffy (652)

          Companies invest a lot developing not-fun-to-code stuff that ends up being lucrative. To get rid of software patents would mean large companies would have little R & D incentive in software.

          Software is still protected by copyright, so the difficulty of writing code ("not-fun-to-code") is still there for anyone doing a reimplementation; what's made easier is coming up with the ideas.

          Thing is, though, that ideas in software aren't all that they're made out to be -- getting the implementation right, and ha

    • Does he have a connection with serial infringers?

      note that connections to serial infringers require less wires than parallel ones.

      he's not so dumb...

  • No Harm, No Foul (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mansing (42708) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:27PM (#22215086)
    I would hope an attorney of Mr. Niro's stature and experience would realize he has no right nor legal recourse against this anonymous blogger. I suspect that had the blogger written anything libelous, Mr. Niro would have already brought suit.

    Since Mr. Niro has not brought legal proceedings against this blogger, I can only quote the next best legal authority on this matter:

    Ha, Ha!

    • by Shados (741919)
      What this attorney realizes, is that laws, in practice, are just suggestions, and that how the legal system works, is that you have to throw money at problems until you can bend the meaning of one of these suggestions with the purpose of getting a dumb judge to create a precedent.
    • by icepick72 (834363)
      The article doesn't mention anything legal proceedings against the blogger. Mr Niro states he wants to find out who the blogger is. Anything else read into it is speculation. The part about "the blogger should take responsibility for his or her views" does not infer legal action either -- it just means posting anonymously is not taking responsbility ... much like Slashdot AC postings.
  • Copyright Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rxmd (205533) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:40PM (#22215264) Homepage
    The blogger could write them a letter disclosing his own identity, cash in the $10k himself, and when they publish the letter sue them for infringing upon his copyright on the letter.
    • by pla (258480)
      The blogger could write them a letter disclosing his own identity, cash in the $10k himself, and when they publish the letter sue them for infringing upon his copyright on the letter.

      Not a bad idea, actually... I'd skip the last half of that, but the blogger should turn himself in for the bounty. The patent-troll lawyer has nothing. He would not only have to (incorrectly) prove the claim false, but also demonstrate that the phrase "patent troll" itself has some specific legal or technical meaning that
      • by MLease (652529)

        The patent-troll lawyer has nothing. He would not only have to (incorrectly) prove the claim false, but also demonstrate that the phrase "patent troll" itself has some specific legal or technical meaning that would distinguish it from clearly expressing a matter of opinion.

        While that's true, what the lawyer is probably counting on is that the blogger doesn't have the resources to raise a defense against any lawsuits. Unfortunately, money often matters much more than the law in the US legal system.

        -Mike

    • by Kozz (7764) on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:47PM (#22216622)
      I think it'd be better to use the Spartacus technique. Imagine ten thousand geeks emailing him, "No, I'm the blogger." :)
  • by blanchae (965013) on Monday January 28, 2008 @07:55PM (#22215514) Homepage
    Can I have the $10,000 now?
  • The identity of the blogger will lead to accusations and lawsuits, and the legal fees for the blogger will dwarf $10k. And the threat will shut down the criticism, which is the point. The identity of the blogger should be worth a lot more to Niro, say $100k. And then let the blogger win by revealing his identity.
  • by DingerX (847589) on Monday January 28, 2008 @08:27PM (#22215866) Journal
    Go to questionable startup rate your prof^H^H^H^Hlawyer [lawyerratingz.com] and pull up their list of IP and Patent lawyers. Send "registered" emails from separate accounts for each name on the list. Then, if he should ever determine the identity, chances are it's on the list, and whoever sent the email will have a good claim on the money. That is provided, of course, said mouthpiece doesn't accuse the snitch of participating in a conspiracy to do exactly that. So the flipside is that if we spam the address with false positives, either the real stoolie will have little hope of making any money off of it, or we get in on the action.

    I'm just speaking hypothetically, of course. I'm pretty sure someone else holds a patent on this sort of spam, and the lawyer involved has set an elaborate trap for an infringement suit.
  • by golodh (893453) on Monday January 28, 2008 @08:27PM (#22215868)
    Well, nice mr. Niro probably wants to know the identity of the anonymous blogger to have a chance to have an intimate legal conversation with him. Lawyer talking shop to lawyer as it where, in a private setting.

    I really don't see the problem, do you? I'm certain it will all be legal, so there's nothing to worry about. No. Really.

  • "I am Sparticus!"
  • And just call for Niro's head?
  • I'd out myself, and be $10,000 richer.
  • 1. Criticize Mr. Niro with an anonymous blog
    3 ????
    4. Profit!
  • by Cadallin (863437) on Monday January 28, 2008 @09:27PM (#22216432)
    We already know who this Lawyer is, and who his firm is and who they work for. There is an exceptionally expedient way for society to deal with this. It is unfortunate that it is necessary, but we must reconcile ourselves to fact that societal institutions have been corrupted. We must search for means to enact reform, and if they have forced us to take plays from their books, then so be it.

    Vigilantism is not only necessary, it is justified. We need to seek out the personal information of this lawyer, his entire firm, and the President and board of directors of the companies that employ them. Publish their names, home addresses, any phone numbers that can be found, their license plate numbers, the names of their family members, the schools their children attend. Everything. This is War, ladies and gentlemen. Of a more dire and extreme sort than any in history. Only by securing true strategic objectives can the enemy be worn down. We must destroy not just his willingness, but his ability to fight. Destroy the ability of those who drive the conflict to live their lives in the most basic way and victory is assured.

    We, the greater whole of society, are everywhere. We surround them. We can destroy them. All that is required is the will.

  • It's me. I'll take a personal check.
  • Huh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Richard.Tao (1150683) on Monday January 28, 2008 @10:21PM (#22216870)
    If the blogger was really suave, he'd reveal his identity to the lawyer and then ask for the 10k. What would they do then? Seems like they'd come out looking like fools.
  • by merc (115854) <slashdot@upt.org> on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:06PM (#22217212) Homepage
    I hate to steal karma, but there's a comment on PTT's blog that was so insightful that I felt it serves as useful food for thought. It was a comment left last thursday by one using the pen name "ipreactionary", all credit goes to him:

    [http://trolltracker.blogspot.com/2008/01/j-carl-cooper-and-technology-licensing.html]:

    "As a practicing patent attorney with a large corporation, I can see why PTT and other commentators might want not to divulge their name. His anonymity works for me, because the subject of our interest shouldn't be who PTT is, but rather whether the US patent system is functioning effectively and fairly. And PTT's remarks on patent predators aren't any less germane because the sharks are identified by name, and he/she isn't. Forget that it's Niro (or Acacia, or whoever) that PTT comments on, and focus on the fact that they and others are manipulating an imperfect system to the detriment of both the system and its participants.

    BTW, there are those who might defend the abuses written of here as nothing more than "arbitrage". I don't agree. Arbitrage smooths out market irregularities caused by assymetrical information or unbalanced supply and demand. It is ethical, and even helpful, where a market is efficient and the market rules are clear and fairly enforced. The swamp of legal, political, technical and economic uncertainties that trolls are rooting around in (and helping muddy up) is more like an armed prospectors' land-grab than what the patent system set out to be: A reward of exclusivity in return for the useful sharing of information. Vigorous enforcement of patents on trivial or useless "inventions", by contingency-fee opportunists, doesn't make them any less trivial and useless. And bundling or accumulating them under shell corporations, the better to leverage them against companies for whom the expected value of a loss at trial (however unlikely) exceeds the price of a settlement, does nothing to better the "market" for IP. It doesn't promote adoption or commercialisation of technology. It doesn't raise capital in support of yet more innovation. It doesn't improve the function of the patent system. It's extortion, pure and simple.

    This isn't an abstract, theoretical discussion. It won't be long before Congress, made up of individuals who understand neither the purpose nor the functioning of the US patent system, begins to tinker with it as if it were a tax code with which additional revenues could be extracted and assets could be more equitably redistributed. Trolls cheapen the patent system in a way that makes legislative erosion even more likely. The abuses PTT writes about call the patent monopoly and its proponents into disrepute, and thereby weaken the rights appropriately reserved under other patents to those who really have made a technical contribution to society. As far as I'm concerned, PTT can call the trolls by name. The moneys they've extracted from productive members of society should be enough consolation for them.

    Blog on, PTT!
    "
  • by Oloryn (3236) on Monday January 28, 2008 @11:16PM (#22217298)
    Sounds to me like yet another exercise in Bulverism [wikipedia.org]. Rather than actually try to argue with your opponent on the merits, you fantasize some motive on the part of your opponent, and assert that that motive must be throwing your opponent's reasoning off. You saw the same thing with SCO insisting that Groklaw must be being paid by IBM. Actually, this reasoning is irrelevant. Even if the opposition actually is motivated by the fantasy motive, their reasoning could still be correct. You find out if their reasoning is correct by examining it logically, not by speculating about their psychology.
  • I am Spartacus.
    Gimme my ten grand, punk!
  • Well (Score:5, Informative)

    by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @12:31AM (#22217860)
    His number is (312) 236-0733. Call him and give him theories. I think everyone should.
  • by f1055man (951955) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @03:26AM (#22218802)
    I don't believe in imaginary property either, but I do believe in $10,000. ....I'll take the case!
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @10:05AM (#22220864) Homepage Journal
    and so is my wife.

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