While seeking a milestone, court test of anonymity revealed

The first two milestones for the Information Valet Project development are to:

  • Engage a group of advisors
  • Determine and establish the optimal corporate form for the IVP service operator.

Getting started on both milestones, yesterday we visited with Dennis Crouch, a University of Missouri School of Law professor who focuses on patent law and electronic commerce. He’ll be helping to think through the corporate form/ownership question as an IVP advisor.

In discussion, Crouch mentioned he was subpoenaed last week in a civil case. A plantiff suing a third party for defamation has asked Crouch to reveal the identity of a person who posted anonymous comments on Crouch’s patent-law blog. It is alleged the anonymous comments defamed the third party. There is no claim that Crouch himself wrote anything defamatory — just the commentator. Google has been served with a similar subpoena in the same case, Crouch said. The case could become a test of how willing courts are to maintain online anonymity. Crouch is a former patent lawyer in Chicago who joined the Mizzou law-school faculty a little over a year ago.

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