Two factor authentication is used by many of the biggest online businesses. On May 22, from his Twitter account (@KimDotcom), DotCom tweeted, "Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, etc. offer Two-Step-Authentication. Massive IP infringement by U.S. companies. My innovation. My patent." (DotCom has an amusing, self-deprecating humor; yesterday he also tweeted, "I'm in shape. Just the wrong one.")
DotCom estimates that two factor authentication is used over one billion times every week and, should he go after the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, et al. and be awarded damages for patent infringement, he could rake in millions or possibly billions of dollars!
But rather than taking these companies to court, what Mr. DotCom wants instead is for the big boys to help him dismantle the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which has been the source of many of his problems, and contribute to his defense fund. I'd put the likelihood of this happening at pretty much zero.
In another tweet DotCom also offered to license the patent: "Want to buy the world wide license to my two-factor-authentication patent? (13 countries incl. US & China)Email: email@example.com."
So, if you're an aspiring patent troll with a lot of money, Mr. DotCom might want to take your call.
You have to love this! Kim DotCom has one of the more potentially powerful patents you could think of and he's using its existence as leverage to help with his defense as well as getting huge amounts of free press out of it. Of course, there's the question of whether DotCom's patent is actually valid and, indeed, another patent, "User authentication method and apparatus" awarded to Ericsson in 1996 (which DotCom's patent cites), could be a problem.
This will be a fascinating saga to watch as it unfolds and, I suspect, many of us are rooting for Kim DotCom. He's been bullied, harassed, and shutdown by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Hong Kong authorities and Big Media. He's even been treated, quite unfairly and illegally, like a criminal by his adopted country, New Zealand (behavior that is curiously out of character with what I know of the country ... but when politics comes to play, just follow the money to find out who's behind it).
So, go Kim, go! For once patents and patent trolling looks not just fair, but noble.
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