Less than a day after Twitter launched two-step authentication of its users, Kim Dotcom, the renegade founder of cloud-storage site Mega threatened to sue the micro-blog together based on a patent he filed in 1998. And then he posted a sale offer for the very same patent on Twitter.
“Want to buy the world wide license to my two-factor-authentication patent? (13 countries incl. US & China)?” Dotcom tweeted. He then offered an email address to contact him, presumably with offers.
According to Dotcom, he doesn’t really want to sue Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, PayPal, Twitter and countless other companies using the two-step authentication, but he really needs some help funding his defense The system is also popular with banks and various other organizations.
The controversial founder said he invented two-factor authentication, which is being used by more and more companies to secure access to their sites. The verification steps aim to reduce the likelihood of online identity theft, phishing, and other scams because the victim’s password would no longer be enough to give a thief access to their information.
“But I might sue them now cause of what the U.S. did to me,” Dotcom said.
Dotcom, is out on bail fighting extradition to the United States for intellectual property charges related to the now shuttered file-sharing site, Megaupload. He is raising money for defense expenses which will exceed $50 million according to one of his tweets.
DotCom’s early cyberstorage locker, MegaUpload, was launched in 2005, only to be shuttered last year by U.S. federal agencies, which argued that it was a service pirates were using to facilitate copyright infringement. The U.S. has been trying to extradite Dotcom, and a hearing is scheduled for August.
The patent in question, No. 6078908, “relates to a method and to a device for the authorization in data transmission systems employing a transaction authorization number (TAN) or a comparable password.” Dotcom filed for the patent under his prior name, Kim Schmitz, in April of 1998. The patent was granted in June of 2000.
While Dotcom has a patent related to the technology, it’s unlikely that he controls all aspects of two-factor authentication. Other people and companies, such as EMC’s RSA security unit, also have been granted patents related to the security technology, and it’s likely that entities using the two-factor authentication, like Apple, would keep Dotcom tied up in court for years if he tries to suit over the patent.