Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It's also important to name and shame law firms that represent patent troll clients.

In this case, the law firm is the patent troll. Two lawyers formerly from firms that used to fight patent trolls. So, I suspect shame isn't going to bother them.

"Blackbird combines both a law firm and intellectual property rights holder into a single entity. In doing so, they remove legal fees from their cost structure and can bring lawsuits of potentially dubious merit without having to bear any meaningful cost." (https://blog.cloudflare.com/standing-up-to-a-dangerous-new-b...)

For a second I thought that that would be an "About Us" on blackbird's site, because the first part makes it seem like a business pitch. Then I thought "why would you advertise that you bring dubious lawsuits?"

>In this case, the law firm is the patent troll.

That seems more common, as does law firms who operate as bill collectors.

Ok maybe instead of shame, it just important to document and track their history, in case it useful to future researchers.

We should also name and shame the politicians that accept money to pass laws for these trolls.

I’m not aware of any laws that have been passed to benefit trolls. They don’t really need any.

They are mostly the same as those ones who help fight against patent trolls. They earn money from both sides.

Is it also appropriate to "call out" attorneys and legal firms that defend defendants accused of unconscionable crimes (think Boston Marathon bomber)?

Attorneys are to help their represented either to make whole, or defend against the state. If they are truly acting in an unethical stance, then they need tried by the state board. If they were acting unethically, then perhaps their license should be revoked. But these ethics should apply to all lawyers, and not because they chose an 'unsavory' client.

If the Boston Marathon bomber was suing the government for not letting him set more bombs off, and a law firm was helping him file that suit, yeah, they should be condemned.

Everybody has a right to a defense. But helping somebody attack another party is unethical.

Personally I find the idea of withholding civil justice from criminals to be entirely repugnant. No matter what their crimes are. I don’t think there is any such crime that would justify withholding justice from an individual.

That isn't entirely the purpose of defense attorneys. They are also responsible for ensuring clients get the "correct" punishment for the crime. If they weren't present there would be no check on heinous sentences for minor crimes.

I don't think the point is whether they are criminals, but whether their legal action is at all reasonable. Suing the government in order to plant bombs is itself unethical. So is suing someone in order to enforce a patent which "attempts to monopolize the abstract idea of monitoring a preexisting data stream between a server" (quoting the judge).

One of the role of judges is to determine whether their legal action is reasonable at all. To say that a criminal should not be able to be a plaintiff in a civil suit, or that barriers should be established to prevent it, is simply to deny their access to civil justice. It’s an entirely mindless position.

You keep focusing on the criminal part, not sure why. That wasn't the point at all, from what I can tell.

> Everybody has a right to a defense. But helping somebody attack another party is unethical.

What you call "attack" is also called "being made whole".

I don't know the details of the case. But unless there is egregious reason to forbid a potential plaintiff from filing, then let them commence. I have no clue who's right here; I wasn't in the courtroom.

It's not being made whole if it's a spurious case, which we now know it was (not because they lost, because of how they lost), and the lawyers should have known from the start. So they're either incompetent or unethical.

I find a distinct difference in the moral justification between civil suit plaintiffs and criminal court defense attorneys.

Edit: Perhaps could be clearer. I feel like attorneys for civil suit plaintiffs have latitude to use their moral compass in deciding whether to take a case. Much more so than a criminal defense attorney.

Civil suits are the main route regular people have to get compensation when abused by corporations. Or just small companies that get abused by big ones. Citizens almost always lose against companies in the executive or legislative branch - it’s only in the judicial branch where we have any hope of prevailing.

The most aggregious frivolous lawsuits make big news, or at least the ones that look frivolous when portrayed from the right perspective. You hear less about the day-in, day-out work the civil justice system does in keeping people honest and holding society and the economy together. There is a reason companies from around the world sign contracts with one another stating that their disputes will be settled in US courts - because it’s the legal system they trust to make the most consistent and fair choices.

What's your point? Nobody is criticizing the existence of the civil courts.

Attorneys who work in civil and criminal law can be defending the powerless, keeping the powerful from facing justice, or somewhere in between. It depends on the particular case.

> Attorneys who work in civil and criminal law can be defending the powerless, keeping the powerful from facing justice, or somewhere in between.

In this case, the lawyers were representing themselves. They not only represented the troll business, but actually are the troll business.

> It depends on the particular case.

I think that's what this thread has been saying.

I responded to a particular comment in the thread.

Patent trolling is unethical, it's basically a racket and extortion scheme.

No, it is not.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact