updated 05:25 pm EDT, Fri July 15, 2011
Kootol sends notice to Apple on messaging patent
Unknown software house Kootol on Friday sent notice to many companies claiming that they allegedly violate a messaging patent. It targets a wide swath of the industry that includes Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Foursquare, Microsoft, Nokia, RIM, Twitter, and others all allegedly violate a patent for "Method and System for Communication, Advertising, Searching, Sharing and Dynamically Providing a Journal Feed." Unusually, Kootol doesn't actually have the patent and is instead acting on a Notice of Allowance that lets it act on the patent but still requires that it pay for the patent later.
The allegations focus on "using one way or two way messaging and by subscribing to posts of other users of a network" and accordingly focus heavily on Twitter and its ecosystem. Twitterrific creator Iconfactory, UberSocial's designer UberMedia, Seesmic, and photo hosting site TwitPic are all included in the infringement notices.
The India-based company was established by Vijay and Yogesh Rathod just last year and is operating under questionable circumstances. Despite its claims of having a "Dynamic Communication & Real Time Search Engine," the company only has a vague description of the service and a short, generic presentation. Its front page prominently focuses on the lone patent and licensing, making it clear the main intent is to profit from royalties and lawsuits.
Kootol may face an uphill battle trying to act on its claimed ownership. It had filed for the patent only in December 2010, more than four years after Twitter was founded and further still after similar services from some of the older companies, such as BlackBerry Messenger. Many of the newer services like Foursquare and Yammer also existed before the patent was filed. A chance exists that the patent will be invalidated based on prior art.