Cisco Turns Up Heat in ‘Patent Troll’ Case
Posted Nov 3, 2008 7:10 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough
The case involving the once-anonymous Patent Troll Tracker is in the news again now that Cisco Systems is reportedly turning up the heat on a Texas lawyer who sued the company.
The Pattent Troll Tracker, who unmasked himself after a lawyer offered a $15,000 reward for anyone who would reveal his identity, turned out to be Richard Frenkel, an in-house lawyer at Cisco.
When Frenkel's blog was active, he often criticized lawyers from for small firms that sue large companies over patent claims, reports MarketWatch.
The publication notes that Cisco and other technology companies are in a continuous battle with so-called patent trolls, which they maintain abuse the patent system to profit from legal settlements.
But once Frenkel revealed his identity, Texas lawyer Eric Albritton sued, claiming Frenkel defamed him by questioning his ethics in a blog post.
Because others at Cisco knew about Frenkel's blog, Albritton maintains the company should be held liable for the blog's content.
But Cisco is now demanding evidence that Albritton suffered "embarrassment, humiliation, mental pain and anguish." The company has asked for access to Albritton's medical records and to six years' worth of financial records and tax returns for his law practice in Longview, Texas, MarketWatch reports.
The sweeping demand has Albritton's lawyers claiming Cisco is using discovery to harass.