Free speech in the patent world saw a big win on Friday, when the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that calling someone a “patent troll” doesn’t constitute defamation. The court’s opinion [PDF] is good news for critics of abusive patent litigation, and anyone who values robust public debate around patent policy. The opinion represents a loss for Automated Transactions, LLC (ATL), a patent assertion entity that sued [PDF] more than a dozen people and trade groups claiming it was defamed.

EFF worked together with the ACLU of New Hampshire to file an amicus brief [PDF] in this case, explaining that the lower court judge got this case right when he ruled against ATL. That decision gave wide latitude for public debate about important policy issues—even when the debate veers into harsh language. We’re glad the New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed.

Last week’s ruling court notes that “patent troll” is a phrase used to describe “a class of patent owners who do not provide end products or services themselves, but who do demand royalties as a price for authorizing the work of others.” However, the justices note that “patent troll” has no clear settled definition. For instance, some observers of the patent world would exclude particular entities, like individual inventors or universities, from the moniker “patent troll.”

Because of this, when ATL’s many critics call it a “patent troll,” they are expressing their subjective opinions. Differences of opinion about many things—including patent lawsuits—cannot and should not be settled with a defamation lawsuit.

“We conclude that the challenged statement, that ATL is a well-known patent troll, is one of opinion rather than fact,” write the New Hampshire justices. “As the slideshow demonstrates, the statement is an assertion that, among other things, ATL is a patent troll because its patent-enforcement activity is ‘aggressive.’ This statement cannot be proven true or false because whether given behavior is ‘aggressive’ cannot be objectively verified.”

The court ruling also upheld tough talk about ATL’s behavior beyond the phrase “patent troll.” For instance, the court looked at statements referring to ATL’s actions as “extortive,” and rejected defamation claims on that basis, finding that was rhetorical hyperbole. Another ATL critic had complained that ATL’s efforts “cost them only postage and the paper their demand letters are written on.” This, too, was hyperbole, part of the give-and-take of a public debate.

This case has its origins in the patents of inventor David Barcelou, who claims he came up with the idea of connecting ATMs to the Internet. As Barcelou describes in his defamation lawsuit, he saw “his business efforts fail,” before he went on to transfer patent rights to ATL and create a patent assertion business.

ATL began suing banks and credit unions that were allegedly using Barcelou’s patents in their ATMs. In all, about 200 different companies paid ATL a total of $3 million in licensing fees to avoid litigation—that’s an average of $15,000 per company.

But when they were finally examined by judges, ATL’s patents failed to hold up. The Federal Circuit invalidated several patent claims owned by ATL, and further found that the defendants’ ATMs did not infringe the Barcelou patents.

After that court loss, ATL had a steep drop in licensing revenue. That’s when ATL launched its defamation lawsuit, blaming its critics for its setbacks.

For software developers and small business owners who bear the brunt of patent troll demands and lawsuits, the New Hampshire decision sends a clear message. If you’re upset about the abuses inherent in our current patent system, it’s okay to speak out by using the term patent troll. Calling out bad actors in the system is part and parcel of the debate around our patent and innovation policies.


  1. Hi there, this weekend is good designed for me, since this occasion i am reading this impressive educational paragraph here
    at my house.

  2. I became honored to obtain a call coming from a friend when he uncovered the important suggestions shared on the site.

    Studying your blog write-up is a real wonderful
    experience. Thank you for thinking about readers much like me, and I wish you the best of achievements
    as a professional in this arena.

    Have a look at my homepage ::

  3. Hiya! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa?
    My blog discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit
    from each other. If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by the way!

    Here is my site: club suncity trusted Company (mega888sg.Com)

  4. Thanks for your whole work on this web page. My mum enjoys carrying out investigation and it is easy to see why.
    All of us hear all of the lively means you convey important strategies
    through this blog and even improve response from the others on the idea and my simple princess is actually starting to learn a great deal.
    Take advantage of the rest of the year. You have been doing a pretty cool job.[X-N-E-W-L-I-N-S-P-I-N-X]I’m extremely
    impressed along with your writing talents and also with the structure to
    your blog. Is this a paid subject or did you modify it yourself?
    Anyway stay up the excellent high quality writing,
    it is uncommon to peer a great blog like this one nowadays.

    Also visit my web blog …

  5. hi!,I really like your writing very a lot!
    percentage we keep in touch extra about your post on AOL?
    I require a specialist on this area to solve my problem.

    Maybe that’s you! Looking ahead to peer you.

    Here is my site ::

  6. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to shoot
    you an e-mail. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

    Also visit my blog

  7. Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and
    starting a new initiative in a community in the same
    niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work
    on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  8. Ηowdy! Would you mind if I sharе your blog with
    my twitter group? Theгe’s a lot of ⲣeople
    that I tһink would really enjoy your content. Please let me know.

  9. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off
    the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with
    internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d
    post to let you know. The layout look great though!
    Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Thanks

    Feel free to visit my website:

  10. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you so much, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS.
    I don?t know the reason why I cannot subscribe to it.
    Is there anybody else getting identical RSS issues?
    Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond?


    Feel free to surf to my site …

  11. Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and
    say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger
    but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any suggestions for rookie
    blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    Here is my page:

  12. Hiya, I am really glad I have found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossips and web and this is actually irritating.
    A good site with interesting content, that’s what
    I need. Thanks for keeping this web-site, I’ll be visiting it.
    Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

    Also visit my site:

  13. Hello my loved one! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and include almost all important
    infos. I would like to look extra posts like this .

    Here is my web blog ::

  14. I wanted to check up and let you know how much I
    loved discovering your blog today. I will consider it
    a good honor to work at my workplace and be able to make use of the tips shared on your website and also
    take part in visitors’ responses like this. Should a position connected with guest article author become
    available at your end, you should let me know.

    Feel free to visit my blog post

  15. A person essentially lend a hand to make seriously articles I would state.

    This is the very first time I frequented your web page and
    to this point? I surprised with the analysis you made to
    make this actual submit extraordinary. Great process!

    My webpage;

  16. Hi there! I could have sworn I?ve been to this web site before but after browsing through many of the
    posts I realized it?s new to me. Anyways, I?m certainly delighted I found
    it and I?ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

    Review my web blog

  17. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you may
    be a great author. I will always bookmark your blog and will eventually come back from now on. I want to encourage one to continue your great work,
    have a nice day!

    Feel free to visit my blog post –

  18. I think this is among the most significant info for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things,
    The site style is ideal, the articles is really nice : D.

    Good job, cheers

    Feel free to surf to my web-site …

  19. Purely to follow up on the update of this subject matter on your
    blog and would like to let you know just how
    much I appreciated the time you took to write this beneficial post.

    Within the post, you actually spoke on how to definitely handle
    this problem with all comfort. It would be my pleasure
    to build up some more suggestions from your website
    and come as much as offer other people what I have benefited
    from you. Thanks for your usual great effort.

    Look at my blog post …

  20. Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know
    your situation; we have created some nice methods and we are looking to
    exchange techniques with other folks, be sure to shoot
    me an email if interested.

    Here is my blog post

  21. It’s awesome to visit this website and reading the views of all mates regarding this post, while I am also
    keen of getting knowledge.

    Feel free to visit my web page :: Ramona

  22. Aw, this was a really nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to make a
    really good article? but what can I say? I procrastinate a whole lot and don’t seem to
    get nearly anything done.

    Also visit my blog post …

  23. You can definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you
    write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who
    aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time
    go after your heart.

    My homepage;

  24. I wanted to follow up and allow you to know how , very much I loved discovering your web blog
    today. I’d personally consider it a honor to operate at my business office
    and be able to use the tips provided on your web page and also participate
    in visitors’ feedback like this. Should a position regarding guest writer become on offer at your end, remember to
    let me know.

    Also visit my homepage;

  25. I wanted to check up and let you know how , very much I loved discovering your web site
    today. I’d personally consider it an honor to work at my office and
    be able to make use of the tips contributed on your web site and also engage in visitors’
    feedback like this. Should a position associated with guest
    author become on offer at your end, i highly
    recommend you let me know.

    Also visit my site ::

  26. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter
    a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is something which too few folks are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy that I found this during my hunt for something regarding this.

    Also visit my blog post;

  27. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful &
    it helped me out much. I’m hoping to provide something back and help others such as you helped me.

    Feel free to visit my site …

  28. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your content seem to be
    running off the screen in Firefox. I’m not sure
    if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I
    thought I’d post to let you know. The layout look great though!
    Hope you get the problem solved soon. Thanks

    Here is my blog post:

  29. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed
    reading it, you happen to be a great author. I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will often come
    back in the future. I want to encourage you to ultimately
    continue your great posts, have a nice morning!

    Here is my blog ::

  30. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I
    am going through difficulties with your RSS. I don?t understand why I can’t join it.
    Is there anybody getting identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the
    answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    Also visit my web site:

  31. Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some
    help from an established blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things
    out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my
    own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions?
    Many thanks

    Feel free to visit my web-site …

  32. I really love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme.
    Did you develop this amazing site yourself?
    Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my own website and would love to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called.

    Feel free to visit my blog post: Lashunda

  33. Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to look it over.
    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Terrific blog and brilliant design.

    Here is my blog post; Tri-Bol Testo Review

  34. Wonderful work! This is the type of info that are meant to be shared across the internet.
    Disgrace on the seek engines for now not positioning
    this submit upper! Come on over and talk over with
    my web site . Thank you =)

    Also visit my site: Breeze Tech Review

  35. Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick
    shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading your blog posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
    Thanks for your time!

    Also visit my blog …

  36. I truly wanted to compose a simple word so as to express gratitude to you for
    all of the stunning secrets you are giving at this
    site. My long internet research has now been paid with
    good quality suggestions to go over with my friends. I would repeat that we visitors actually
    are rather blessed to be in a notable site with so many wonderful people with beneficial tips.
    I feel very privileged to have seen your web page and look forward to so many more thrilling
    times reading here. Thanks once again for a lot of things.

    Here is my site; Tri-Bol Testo

  37. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues
    of plagorism or copyright violation? My website has a
    lot of unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it
    looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help stop content from being ripped off?
    I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    Also visit my homepage … Nuubu

  38. I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for fantastic info I was looking for this information for my mission.

    Feel free to surf to my page; Boltz Pro Charger

  39. My programmer is trying to convince me to move to .net
    from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of
    the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on a number of
    websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform.
    I have heard very good things about

    Is there a way I can import all my wordpress content into it?

    Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

    Here is my site –

  40. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Opera.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you
    know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Cheers

    Also visit my homepage: Keto Premium Shot Reviews

  41. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before
    but after going through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Regardless, I’m certainly pleased I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!

    Feel free to visit my web page:

  42. I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s
    to be what precisely I’m looking for. Does one offer guest
    writers to write content for you? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on a
    few of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome web log!

    my web page: Testol Max

  43. Whoah this weblog is excellent i like reading your posts.
    Keep up the good work! You know, lots of people are searching around for this info, you could aid them greatly.

    Take a look at my site; Max Rize

  44. You’re so interesting! I do not believe I have read anything like that before.
    So nice to discover another person with unique
    thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up.
    This web site is something that’s needed on the web, someone with some originality!

    Feel free to visit my web-site – Crypto Advantage App Reviews

  45. Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem together with your web site in internet explorer, might test this?

    IE nonetheless is the market chief and a huge component of other people will omit your
    wonderful writing due to this problem.

    My web page – Renown CBD Gummies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.