Dennis Crouch at Patently-O is reporting that Cisco has amended its employee blogging policy to require that any Cisco employee blogging about issues involving or related to Cisco identify themselves as a Cisco employee and provide a disclaimer that the opinions are those of the employee alone and not necessarily Cisco. This is a reasonable policy. It provides Cisco’s employees the freedom to blog while protecting both Cisco and its employees. And it prevents future occurences of the mistake Troll Tracker made (anonymously commenting on cases his employer was involved in), as I discussed in my post on anonymous blogging last week, click here for the post.
Cisco also told Crouch that Troll Tracker would be free to continue blogging, presumably as long as he follows the policy. Hopefully, that means that Troll Tracker will return to the patent litigation conversation soon, although it is easy to believe that this experience may have soured him on blogging or changed his voice substantially. Here is Cisco’s explanation of Troll Tracker’s status from Cisco’s official blog, The Platform:
As an employee, Rick is free to continue his personal blog, Patent Troll Tracker, in compliance with the revised policy. Rick has many fans who appreciate the information he collects and disseminates on patent litigation trends and recognize his blog as an important voice in the on-going national dialogue on patent issues.
IP Law360 (subscription required) has a detailed article this morning outlining Troll Tracker’s history, including several quotes from Ray Niro of Niro Scavone who received substantial media attention after offering a reward for Troll Tracker’s identity. Niro reportedly likened Cisco’s policy to "repairing a sidewalk after someone was hurt" and said that some of Troll Tracker’s statements were "hurtful, harmful and, in many cases, 100% inaccurate." According to the article, Niro plans to depose Troll Tracker in Illinois Computer Research, LLC v. Fish & Richardson, No. 07 C 5081 (N.D. Ill.) (Pallmeyer, J.) — click here to read more about the case in the Blog’s archives.
Another note on anonymous blogging and commenting, Rob LaGatta at LexBlog addressed the Troll Tracker situation and my anonymous blogging post last week with an important point, click here for Rob’s post. Anonymous blogging and commenting is a relatively small part of legal blogging and most anonymous material is not problematic. It is easy to get side-tracked by the occasional offensive anonymous content. But the vast majority of legal blogs operate without problems with either unprofessional or anonymous content.