When you hear Kim Dotcom, it's probably in the context of the internet entrepreneur's adventures with the law and MegaUpload. However, this week, Dotcom is in the news for a completely different reason. Apparently, he's threatening to sue Twitter, Google and others over their use of two-step authentication.
Kim Dotcom revealed via Twitter yesterday that he holds the patent for two-step authentication and that Twitter, Google and others are infringing upon his IP.
"Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, etc. offer Two-Step-Authentication. Massive IP infringement by U.S. companies. My innovation. My patent," he tweeted, later adding, "I never sued them. I believe in sharing knowledge and ideas for the good of society. But I might sue them now cause of what the U.S. did to me."
Dotcom also provided a link to his patent, which was filed in 1998 and made public two years later, in 2000. Titled 'Method for authorizing in data transmission systems,' the patent's abstract details a method of authentication that sees the user send "a qualifying identification of the data input apparatus together with a request for the generation or for the selection of a transaction authorization number TAN or the comparable password or selects them from a data file." The authorization computer would then send this transaction authorization number to another device (the patent gives the example of a pager). The user then enters the number into the previously mentioned 'data input apparatus,' whereby the validity of the the transaction authorization number is verified.
So, Kim Dotcom owns this patent, and is holding that fact over the heads of some of the biggest names in the industry. What next? Well, Dotcom has said that he doesn't actually want to sue Google, Facebook, or Twitter. Instead, he just wants their help. The man is facing lengthy legal proceedings, the bill for which he estimates will be around $50 million. The problem is, MegaUpload's assets are all frozen, so he's asking for help.
"Google, Facebook, Twitter, I ask you for help. We are all in the same DMCA boat. Use my patent for free. But please help funding my defense," he tweeted. "All of our assets are still frozen without trial. Defending our case will cost USD 50M+. I want to fight to the end because we are innocent."
Whether or not Google, Facebook, or Twitter will lend a hand remains to be seen, but it's certainly an interesting approach to raising the money for his defense.