Twitter Loses Patent Ruling, May Have To Go To Trial

Twitter may have to go to trial to defend itself against a patent lawsuit claiming that they infringed upon an idea for an online system for following famous people, if they can’t work something out behind closed doors in the coming week.

We first reported this story back in January. At the time, Twitter was being sued for infringing on a patent that, in part,

“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.”

To my untrained eyes, that reads like almost every social network, from Friendster to MySpace to Facebook to Twitter, I’ve ever heard of. But apparently the patent might hold water.

In July, following the initial lawsuit, Twitter tried, and failed, to move the then-potential lawsuit from Norfolk to San Francisco.

Now, a judge in Norfolk has denied Twitter’s attempts to get the case thrown out, and has ruled that, unless the two parties can come to an agreement behind closed doors, they must face a courtroom on October 24th.

The plaintiff in this case is inventor Dinesh Agarwal, who created the technology to bring people with professional profiles together online, apparently. According to, he is claiming that Twitter owes him between $11 and $41 million in royalties.

Twitter and Agarwal have until October 13th to work something out before the case goes to trial.

(Image courtesy of Sergey Mironov via Shutterstock)