You’re being criticized online. You find it vexing. So what do you do? The answer depends on who you are, and how much money you have at your disposal. If you’re Raymond Niro of Chicago IP firm Niro Scavone Haller and Niro, you offer a $10,000 bounty for the identity of the anonymous lawyer who calls himself thePatent Troll Tracker. Niro characterizes the bounty as a quest for truth:
“I want to find out who this person is,” Niro said. “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.”
If you’re one of two Yale students trying to find out who posted comments on the AutoAdmit student discussion board threatening you with rape, you may not have an extra $10,000 to spend tracking down the threatening party. In fact, the suing students have had a tough time tracking down the identity of the posters. The Troll Tracker is criticizing Niro’s firm for taking on IP licensing firms as clients. Niro’s Bounty avoids the courts altogether and aims straight for the pocketbook, enlisting the aid of wannabe private eyes in order to eliminate the Patent Troll Tracker’s shield of anonymity. The Patent Troll Tracker is reporting that script kiddies are trying to crack his Blogger account. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey, hitlerhitlerhitler, The Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rollah, Sleazy Z, and other anonymous AutoAdmit denizens posted accusations of sexual misconduct with Yale faculty, character assassinations, claims of falsified of LSAT scores, and repeated rape threats. The Yale plaintiffs, seemingly thinking that the law is the best recourse, are hitting a brick wall. Only time will tell if Niro’s Bounty will be successful. But it does seem perverse that anonymity can potentially be unmasked more easily when the subject is patent policy than when the subject is threatened rape.