Stupid Lawsuit Of The Month: Atlanta Lawyer Sues Over Posting Entitled “Stupid Patent of the Month”

stupid-patent-square-2Atlanta lawyer and inventor Scott Horstemeyer has responded to a critical posting on one of his patent as “stupid patent of the month” by filing what is clearly the stupid lawsuit of the month. The defendant is the Electronic Frontier Foundation which only expressed its opinion on the patent but Horstemeyer appears to believe that the expression of such opinions can be defamation. Also named is Daniel Nazer, the EFF lawyer who wrote the post.

The patent, assigned by Horstemeyer to Eclipse IP, is for a method of updating delivery information. While a federal court according to the positing had rejected patents “in the same family” Horstemeyer allegedly did not disclose those decisions to the patent examiner.

According to press reports, Eclipse owns more than 20 patents and is described as a “‘patent troll’ that has filed more than 100 lawsuits.” The company is accused of routinely sending demand letters to companies threatening lawsuits and reminding recipients that lawsuits “can be expensive and time consuming.”

The post said that Hostemeyer has “shown advanced skill at gaming the patent system.” He is described in the complaint as a “prolific inventor” who has been awarded 28 patents and who enjoys an “unblemished career and reputation” that was damaged by the article.

It was the reference to the earlier decisions that seemed to generate the greatest objections with counsel for Horstemeyer demanding a retraction that acknowledged that the prior ruling was not material.

Outside counsel Eric Schroeder of Bryan Cave said that the article is “clearly subjective opinion and hyperbole” that is protected by the First Amendment. He is right in my view.

The case bears similarity to Wilkow v. Forbes, where Forbes Magazine was sued by Marc Wilkow after reporting that he paid only $55 million on a $93 million loan. A article dealt with the case of Bank of America National Trust & Savings Ass’n v. 203 North LaSalle Street Partnership. The article said that the partnership led by Willow “stiffed” the bank. Judge Easterbrook and the panel not only rejected the claim as opinion but noted that the conduct described might even be viewed as a positive attribute by readers of an aggressive businessperson.

We have previously discussed law firms who routinely bully people over trademark or copyright claims in search of quick settlements.

Whether or not this is one such law firm, it does not help matters to sue publications over their expression of opinion as to your tactics in an effort to show that you are not a troll.

Here is the letter sent to the publication.

7 thoughts on “Stupid Lawsuit Of The Month: Atlanta Lawyer Sues Over Posting Entitled “Stupid Patent of the Month””

  1. Karen S

    1, June 8, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Horstemeyer is a cliche who tarnishes the reputation of the law profession.



    He is the epitome of the Law Profession.

  2. I’m happy to be introduced to the term ‘patent troll.’

    There are quite a few patent trolls in high-tech companies. Take software development. Trolls see a few commands repeated for some sort of support, and pow! They have written a macro and sent it to the patent office. They are often unproductive in their actual jobs. It can be such a sore subject among their co-workers that a joke about it receives a glare and silence among people who are normally quick with their sarcasm.

  3. Horstemeyer is a cliche who tarnishes the reputation of the law profession.

  4. I’m not stupid . Got issue. I Get MS icon on PC to upgrade from Win 7 to Windows 10 for free from Microsoft. Can’t turn off.
    It wants email for free reservation to download in July. Should I click or avoid? I’ll start doing backup and cloning another hard drive just in case.
    This is the last of Windows OS updates. Want to sue MS if Win 10 doesn’t work for feeling “stiffed”. Any lawyers out there?

  5. Truth as an affirmative defense. Then, Counter Claim for suing on a baseless claim. Then, cover the litigation not only on a website but send the pleadings to all media which might be interested. Depose the plaintiff and cut to the chase. Video the deposition. Post it on-line.

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