When you start a business, no matter how successful or popular you are with consumers, the question remains, “How do I know when I’ve made it?”. I would have to say, in the technology field anyway, you know your company has made it when you start getting sued. It really doesn’t matter by who, but when you get that certified letter you can pretty much conclude you have “made it”.
The same week Twitter was awarded Best Startup of 2010 at the Crunchie Awards they have been slapped with a lawsuit involving, well, pretty much every celebrity on Twitter.
VS Technologies is suing Twitter for infringing on a patent dating back to 2000, for whats called a “Method and system for creating an interactive community of famous people.”
So far this is pretty vague and it doesn’t get much better. The complaint states, “As it pertains to this lawsuit, very generally speaking, the ‘309 Patent discloses methods and systems for creating interactive, virtual communities of people in various fields of endeavor wherein each community member has an interactive, personal profile containing information about that member.”
VS Technologies claims that it has suffered financial damages as a result of Twitter infringing on this patent and, in short, the company thinks Twitter should pay, now get this, ”damages in an amount that adequately compensates VS Technologies for Defendant’s infringement, which by law cannot be less than would constitute a reasonable royalty for the use of the patented technology, together with interest and costs as fixed by this Court […]”. What the heck does that even mean? That’s basically saying, “Judge, we have no idea how much we should be paid, but considering it’s Twitter we are suing just give us a lot.” Get real people!!
TechCrunch summed this up perfectly when they described VS Technologies as, “yet another patent troll”. I don’t find it a coincidence that the lawyer in this case is none other than the inventor of the patent. It’s getting to the point where people just patent ideas with no intention on following through with a business plan, in the hopes that somewhere down the line a person with actual drive and determination succeeds, just to turn around and sue them. I think this is a a slap in the face to the patent process and frankly, goes against all things that are American. Now some may say that suing people is the American way, but it wasn’t always like that. It’s sad that things have moved to this point.
So readers does VS Technologies have a case or are they just blowing smoke in an effort to land a handsome settlement amount?