In another case of ‘patent troll with a terrible website design sues other companies’, Kootol Software LTD has sent notices to numerous companies who deal in making software around Twitter, whom happens to be at the center of the latest patent feud. Twitter itself has already been contacted according to Kootol’s news feed, detailing that they own products and services for, “A Method and System for Communication, Advertising, Searching, Sharing and Dynamically Providing a Journal Feed”. The patent revolves around being able to send and receive messages on a public feed by subscribing to (following) other users in real time, which sums up Twitter in a nutshell. The patent includes being able to search for information in real time, which includes archival information.
Kootol has also announced that it has sent a [caution] notice to Twitter Inc, USA and has brought to their attention their accepted US patent application. They have also expressed concerns that Twitter Inc’s micro-blogging website ‘Twitter.com’, introduced around July 15, 2006 may violate their intellectual property. Kootol is in the process of examining this position and the purpose of serving this notice is to bring the fact to attention of Twitter Inc at the very earliest stage so that Twitter Inc gets a full opportunity to examine the matter.
Apple, Microsoft, Ford, Amazon, AOL, and smaller developers such as The Iconfactory, Yammer, Seesmic, and Ubermedia have all also been sent notices for patent infringement. Kootol has submitted around 60 patents related to real time communications, including news-feeds, ‘unified’ communication systems, and ‘service based’ social networks that are present in the US, EPO, Canada, and the companies home country of India. Though keyword is submitted: a lawsuit can’t take place unless these patents are granted, thus Kootol is trying to bank on early license deals.
Small developers have lately been targets of patent trolls looking to profit of their pool of patents — notably developers are currently dealing with the patent troll Lodsys for in-app purchasing, though Apple has motioned to intervene.
Note: While preparing our own post, FOSS Patents put out an elaborate post detailing the situation better than I ever could have. Florian Mueller also express the same worries as I for The Iconfactory in particular. I recommend checking out the post here: