Judge Refuses To Dismiss Twitter From Patent Lawsuit Concerning Patent On Interacting With Famous People Online

from the bang-head-slowly dept

One of the absolute worst parts of the patent system is that, unlike many other legal issues, it’s nearly impossible to easily get a patent claim dismissed. Thanks to rather arcane rules in how fights over patents work out, it almost always has to go trial if the parties don’t settle. The patent lawyers love this, of course. It makes them plenty of money. But you would hope that in extremely ridiculous cases, courts would be quick to dump such lawsuits. Earlier this year we wrote about how patent lawyer Dinesh Agarwal had a patent 6,408,309 on a “Method and system for creating an interactive virtual community of famous people.” That’s not a joke. Even worse, he claimed that Twitter infringed on the patent. Yes, for daring to have a community which some famous people have decided to use… suddenly, that’s patent infringement.

Of course, as we noted at the time, the patent didn’t seem to cover what Twitter does at all. But why let that stop you from suing? And while Twitter did try to play some games over jurisdictional issues to get the case moved (which failed), this seemed like the type of case that should lead to an early dismissal. Instead, as pointed out by Richard Gailey, the court has rejected Twitter’s attempt to get the case dismissed, and now it’s moving on towards trial. Of course, the judge is also pressuring Twitter to settle with (read: pay off) the patent holder, which only perpetuates this kind of ridiculousness. Here’s hoping that Twitter is willing to fight this.

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Companies: twitter

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Comments on “Judge Refuses To Dismiss Twitter From Patent Lawsuit Concerning Patent On Interacting With Famous People Online”

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Anonymous Coward says:

In that case I’ll quit my day job and create patents on ‘Method and system for creating an interactive virtual community of people named Michael’, after all, Michael has been the top boy’s name for a couple of decades. And I’ll patent another system for interacting with people with the name of Emily, that’s been a top girl’s name for a long time to.

Then I’ll use the profits from those patents to build a program to patent such systems for every other name I can find listed at baby naming sites. I’ll be the next Bill Gates!

Jimr (profile) says:

What is the legal definition of famous? How many people out of 1000 have to recognize you for you to be famous – is just local famous, national, world wide? Are you just famous in certain circles? You may have been famous in high school but after restraining order you could not longer stock the high school girls?

I would say it to vague to use the world famous.

Beside which I think Hollywood itself is prior art to an interactive virtual community of famous people.

SiliconJon (profile) says:

Dear Techdirt Staff

This law firm represents SiliconJon (aka Big Meanie PooPooHead). If you are represented by legal counsel, please direct this letter to your attorney immediately and have your attorney notify us of the next office party in which we may gleefully attend.

We are writing to notify you that your unlawful copying of SiliconJon’s patent of communicating with other organic entities infringes upon our client?s exclusive copyrights. Accordingly, you are hereby directed to


SiliconJon is the owner a patent in various aspects of interentity communications. Under United States patent law, SiliconJon?s patents have been in effect since the date that Patent #101101100100100101011001010010010101110100100100110 was created. All patentable aspects of interentity communications are patented under United States patent law.

Thank you, drive through.


Work Not Think Not Law Offices, LLC

SiliconJon (profile) says:

Settlement Agreement

Patent Infringement Settlement Agreement

I, ___________________, agree to immediately cease and desist communicating with other entities in exchange for SiliconJon releasing any and all claims against me for patent infringement. In the event this agreement is breached by me, SiliconJon will be entitled to everything I have ever owned or associated with, including, but not limited to: my wife, girlfriends (past and present), personal property including all banks accounts and any other assets, favorite foods (you may no longer eat them with pleasure), DNA, deepest darkest secrets, and attorney?s fees (which is a few tons of worm food – figure out how to buy it after I already took everything belonging to you) in any action brought to enforce this agreement and shall be free to pursue all rights that SiliconJon had as of the date of this letter as if this letter had never been signed.



Anonymous Coward says:

It is not that the court has refused to dismiss Twitter from a lawsuit, but that it has denied a motion by Twitter under FRCP 12(b)(6) to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint.

The above may seem like wordsmithing, but this is not the case. There is a significant difference between what the title to the article suggests, and what they court has actually done.

staff says:

another biased article

Masnick and his monkeys have an unreported conflict of interest-

They sell blog filler and “insights” to major corporations including MS, HP, IBM etc. who just happen to be some of the world?s most frequent patent suit defendants. Obviously, he has failed to report his conflicts as any reputable reporter would. But then Masnick and his monkeys are not reporters. They are patent system saboteurs receiving funding from huge corporate infringers. They cannot be trusted and have no credibility. All they know about patents is they don?t have any.

vic Kley says:


Masnick – you are no longer amusing. Even patent lawyers can invent and they may be particularly good at structuring claims.

Apparently the judge wants the arguments to proceed. Now do you believe that Twitter is too poor to defend itself? We can only hope that if there is a principle involved the case goes to decision because that is what helps make and clarify the law. Not settlements or your moaning babble.

I’ll have to give you this you started this blog of misinformation and it has served to bring you clients and provide some revenue to writers willing to mostly take your anti-patent and anti-start-up/inventor point of view. You know the point of view that pleases Apple, Microsoft and GE.

Apparently none of your partners (despite stints in technology) has ever patented anything. Certainly none of you three school chums have made a living by creating real things that others would buy. You sell words and because talk is cheap you sell smarmy words meant to mollify and placate big company PR departments.

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