The Patent Troll And The Anonymous Blogger
December 5, 2007 8:26 AM   Subscribe

"$5,000 to anyone that can provide information that leads me to the identity of Troll Tracker" is the offer from Ray Niro of Chicago plaintiffs firm Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro. Niro doesn't like to be called a "troll," but Troll Tracker started referring to Niro that way. So Niro pulled out an old weapon. He e-mailed the blogger, informing him that he may be infringing on patent number 5,253,341.
posted by three blind mice (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A third party filed for a re-examination of the '341 patent, and this September, seven years later, it emerged with one claim left intact, covering asymmetric decompression involved in the display of .jpg images on Web sites.

Does that mean anyone who uses jpg images on a website is infringing on someone's patent? This must be the real reason mathowie disabled the img tag.
posted by goatdog at 8:39 AM on December 5, 2007

Ray Niro seems to enjoy his notoriety.
posted by caddis at 8:53 AM on December 5, 2007

Download 5,253,341 PDF here.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:01 AM on December 5, 2007

I'm sure this is exactly what the inventors of patent law had in mind when they devised it.
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on December 5, 2007

You forgot to include the tag "troll".

As well as "christwhatanasshole".
posted by loquacious at 9:03 AM on December 5, 2007

The summary of 5,253,341:

An improved method and apparatus for downloading compressed audio/visual (AV) data and/or graphical/tabular information from a remote Server to an End User Station (EUS) for the purpose of decompressing and/or displaying said downloaded data. The EUS may transmit a query to the Server manually and/or automatically for the purpose of initiating a process in the Server (e.g. data compression, indexing into a very large database, etc.), which requires the high speed processing, large capacity and multi-distributed data storage, etc.) which are typically preferred at a Server. The EUS provides appropriate inverse processing (e.g. data decompression) which, by its nature, requires relatively little processing power to accomplish. Thus, the method of this invention exploits the inherent asymmetry in the overall process of an EUS querying a remote Server (and/or Server Network) for a data service (e.g. retrieval of AV data in faster than real time) where most of the processing power and global scheduling is performed by the Server.

I Am Not A Patent Lawyer (thank god) but it seems to me that only part of that is happening when you link to a JPEG, since theres no real time compression, you're just downloading a file that happens to be compressed. I would have thought there'd be a fair amount of prior art for that in 1991, for instance I don't see how someone downloading a TIFF from a BBS in the 80s would be doing anything different.
posted by Artw at 9:20 AM on December 5, 2007

Lawyers and these 'intellectual property' goons are going to destroy what's left of tech innovation in America eventually. It'll all simply move to $other_country where there are far fewer blatant patent trolls.
posted by drstein at 9:53 AM on December 5, 2007

I hear Nigeria is good.
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on December 5, 2007

Could selectively trying to enforce a patent against one small infringer in a situation where every person browsing is an infringer constitute barratry?
posted by lodurr at 10:32 AM on December 5, 2007

What's Barraty?

Hmm, yes.
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on December 5, 2007

Is this one of those threads you can be sued for commenting in?
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:33 PM on December 5, 2007

anotherpanacea: Only if you write "Ray Niro is a troll."
posted by five fresh fish at 5:25 PM on December 5, 2007

All you have to do is write "Ray Niro is a toll?" I'm not usually a joiner, but heck, sign me up.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:04 PM on December 5, 2007

Ray Niro is not a toll, except in that "lawyers who make things worse for the world" sense.

It's "Ray Niro is a troll" that you wish to write.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:56 PM on December 5, 2007

You know what? I'm actually not going to write it. I'm too scared, which just goes to show the chilling effects that this sort of litigation can have.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:43 PM on December 5, 2007

The chilling effect of lawyers, eh? They're kind of like ice wraiths and piss-shivers in that regard. Some of them, anyway; enough to create a stereotype.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:28 PM on December 5, 2007

It could be worse. If PatentTroll were in England, he could be sued to within a hairs-breadth of his life for just posting news about Niro that made him look bad.
posted by lodurr at 5:56 AM on December 6, 2007

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