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Patent Law, State Courts, and Free Speech: The Case of Troll Tracker

I wrote previously on the Troll Tracker case (see Update on Patent Troll Tracker; Troll Tracker Lands Job Fighting Patent Trolls!). This case concerns defamation suits filed against “Troll Tracker,” aka Rick Frenkel, by two Texas lawyers, in the aftermath of Frenkel’s identity being revealed, after bounties put up by one of the subjects of his criticism, patent attorney Ray Niro. (It’s convoluted, but all you need to know is that Frenkel is the good guy here.)

An updated is provided by Dennis Crouch on Patently-O in Troll Tracker Defamation Lawsuit: Trial Underway. As Crouch notes,

Eric Albritton’s defamation lawsuit against Rick Frenkel and his former employer Cisco Systems is underway in the Eastern District of Texas. In my opinion, the case is ridiculous. However, it should serve as a reminder that those vehemently against certain types of speech can often shut-down that speech. Frenkel has indicated that he will not revive his troll tracker blog.

Yet another example of how state law and institutions–including defamation law, state courts themselves and the hideous expense they impose and the injunctive remedies available to judges, and the admixture of IP law–chills free speech.

[AgainstMonopoly cross-post; Mises blog cross-post]

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