Kim Dotcom has announced that he is the inventor of the so-called two-step authentication system and has a patent to prove it. The Megaupload founder says the security mechanism, which has just been introduced by Twitter, is being used by U.S. companies more than a billion times every week without permission. Dotcom says he doesn’t want to sue, but might if the likes of Google and Facebook don’t help fund his legal battle with the U.S. Government.
Continually over the past year and half, and particularly since his January 2012 arrest in New Zealand, the German-born entrepreneur has described himself as an innovator, someone who creates rather than destroys as the U.S. would have people believe.
Dotcom’s achievements are many and his cloud storage companies past and present have certainly generated hundreds of headlines. However, it seems that the New Zealand resident’s creative mind was already working overtime more than 15 years ago to come up with an idea that is now gaining serious traction online.
Two-step authentication is a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to online accounts. If a user logs into a service from an unusual device or location, the service sends a message containing a password to a trusted device such as a cellphone. This enables the service to authenticate the access and allow the log in.
Just hours ago Twitter implemented the system but it’s already in use by companies such as Google and Facebook.
In fact, according to Kim Dotcom there are more than a billion uses of the system every single week and he’s got good reason to be interested. The businessman says he invented it, and to back up his claim he’s just posted his patent to Twitter.
The patent, US6078908 titled Method for authorizing in data transmission systems, was filed way back in April 1998 and published in June 2000 under Dotcom’s birth name of Kim Schmitz. There can be little doubt from the patent’s abstract that it does indeed describe a two-step verification system.
“Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, etc. offer Two-Step-Authentication,” writes Dotcom. “Massive IP infringement by U.S. companies. My innovation. My patent.”
It’s fairly apparent that none of these corporations are paying Dotcom for the use of his invention but as usual he’s approaching the matter in his own style, with a carrot in one hand and a stick in the other.
“I never sued them. I believe in sharing knowledge & ideas for the good of society. But I might sue them now cause of what the U.S. did to me,” he declares.
Of course, Dotcom has a problem. He’s up to his neck in legal action across several jurisdictions and has a legal bill set to top $50m. In realistic terms the last thing he needs is another legal front, however there might be other options for solving the problem, including partnership with those companies allegedly infringing his patent rights.
“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,” said Dotcom this morning.
It seems unlikely that any of the above companies would consider donating to Dotcom’s fighting fund in any direct manner. However, one or all of their hands might be forced by the Mega.co.nz chief’s latest announcement.
“Want to buy the worldwide license to my two-factor-authentication patent? (13 countries incl. US & China) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org,” he concludes.
Asking price $50m? We’ll let the lawyers argue over that.