Is “Patent Troll” Defamation?

By on February 28, 2019

February 28, 2019

Automated Transactions LLC owns multiple patents related to automatic teller machines and for years it sent letters alleging infringement to banks and credit unions. Many settled, and ATL collected millions. After an appeals court in 2012 ruled that some – but not all – of the patents at issue were invalid, ATL continued to send out letters, and that triggered an organized response from a number of recipients who freely used words like “patent troll” and “shakedown.” In 2016, the company sued a number of them, including the ABA, the Credit Union National Association, and an attorney who had represented a group of New England banks. That lawsuit was dismissed by a New Hampshire court, but the company has appealed the dismissal and the case was recently argued before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. “The stakes are high,” writes Ars Technica reporter Timothy B. Lee . “If Barcelou [ATL’s founder] succeeds, we can expect other alleged patent trolls to flock to New Hampshire to sue their detractors for libel.”

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Ars Technica

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