respectful naming of your opponent
Posted Oct 15, 2007 18:32 UTC (Mon) by ncm
In reply to: respectful naming of your opponent
Parent article: A visit from the trolls
"Troll" is a technical term unrelated to its use to disparage saboteurs of online discussions. It comes from the mythological creature hinding under bridges and demanding a toll to cross. Trolls don't build bridges, they just colonize bridges that are poorly defended. Of course they are symbolic of real bandits who behave the same way.
As such, "patent troll" is not meant to be funny or (particularly) disrespectful. It's simply a very accurately analogical description. These people never create anything, but they make their living by demanding money from others to whom they have never rendered any service and on whose largesse they have no claim; and they enforce their demands by threatening the harm of expensive litigation. The victims know that even winning such litigation might be more expensive than paying the demands. Furthermore, the alice-in-wonderland atmosphere in courtrooms means winning is far from certain, and losing could be disastrous.
"Patent trolls" is, if anything, too favorable a term. "Patent extortionists", "Protection racketeers", or "disgusting slime" would be more appropriate, but we restrain ourselves and say "patent trolls".
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