‘Patent troll’ has no clear that means and is a protected assertion of opinion, state excessive courtroom says

Trials & Litigation

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The New Hampshire Supreme Court docket has upheld dismissal of a go well with filed by an inventor and his firm who claimed they have been defamed by the “patent troll” label.

The courtroom mentioned “patent troll” is a press release of opinion that may’t be proved true or unfaithful as a result of the time period has no exact definition, report the Harmony Monitor and Regulation360. In consequence, the time period can’t be defamatory, the courtroom mentioned.

The courtroom dominated Friday towards inventor David Barcelou and his firm, Automated Transactions LLC, which is named ATL. Barcelou had alleged that he and ATL grew to become the topic of a defamatory smear marketing campaign after the corporate generated greater than $Three million in licensing revenues for its automated teller patent between 2011 and 2012.

Particularly, Barcelou alleged that the Pierce Atwood regulation agency, one in all its attorneys and two associations defamed him by calling his firm a patent troll. Pierce Atwood had used the time period on its web site, the American Bankers Affiliation used it in congressional testimony and the Credit score Union Nationwide Affiliation used it in a slideshow presentation that included an image of a troll.

The patent troll phrase has proliferated lately, but a broadly accepted definition of the time period has not been devised, the New Hampshire Supreme Court docket mentioned.

The courtroom did supply a basic definition: The time period patent troll is used to explain patent homeowners who don’t present services or products themselves, however who demand royalties from others.

However exact definitions fluctuate, the courtroom mentioned. The time period has been used to seek advice from any occasion that doesn’t produce items or providers, to firms whose main line of enterprise is submitting patent fits, to firms that assert patents they purchased from others, to those that assert invalid patents, or to those that have interaction in abusive techniques in patent litigation. Some even use the phrase “troll” to seek advice from anybody who’s suing them.

Barcelou had made ATL the unique licensor of his patent for the cash-dispensing properties of his thought for an “computerized event machine.” The machine might settle for an entry payment, select a winner and award a right away money prize.

ATL provided patent licenses and introduced infringement fits. The corporate additionally obtained extra patents associated to the machine’s cash-dispensing perform.

Barcelou mentioned the patent troll label and the alleged smear marketing campaign had harm revenues and broken his popularity.

However the courtroom mentioned the patent troll time period is deployed in “myriad methods” by those that utter it. “Like different, comparable pejorative phrases, ‘patent troll’ is ‘quintessentially subjective,’ ” the courtroom mentioned, citing one other courtroom resolution.

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