Kim Dotcom holds two-factor authentication patent, won't sue tech giants in exchange for legal help

By on May 23, 2013, 12:30 PM

Kim Dotcom is once again making headlines, but not over his controversial Mega website. Rather, Dotcom claims he invented two-factor authentication. He has promised to not sue companies using the technology; namely Google, Facebook and Twitter, but only in exchange for aiding his fight against the onslaught of DMCA-based legal troubles he continues to face.

"Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, etc. offer Two-Step-Authentication." Dotcom tweeted. "Massive IP infringement by U.S. companies. My innovation. My patent."

The German-born New Zealander shares the proof here: a patent titled "Method for authorizing in data transmission systems" filed in 1998. The patent was submitted under the name "Kim Schmitz" -- Dotcom's given-name before he had it legally changed in 2005 -- and appears to be the only patent he's had published.

Two-factor authentication (aka. multi-factor authentication, two-step verification) relies on more than just a password to log on to an account. Most implementations boil down to something you know (i.e. password) in combination with something you have (e.g. smartphone, dongle). The idea is even if hackers discover your password, they most likely don't have your phone (or vice versa). In recent years, the authentication scheme has been widely deployed across many popular online services.

Whether or not Dotcom's patent makes him the indubitable owner of two-factor authentication is not entirely known; software patents are a notoriously murky area best left to legal experts. However, The Guardian noted there appears to be prior art for the technology dating back to 1995, courtesy of Ericsson and Nokia. Since older filings take precedent, Kim Dotcom may not hold a valid patent unless his submission is differentiated in some key way.

Even so though, Dotcom's "Method for authorizing in data transmission systems" lends the controversial millionaire a fair amount of geek cred.

"Google, Facebook, Twitter, I ask you for help." Dotcom appealed on Twitter. "We are all in the same DMCA boat. Use my patent for free. But please help funding my defense."

The eccentric entrepreneur asserts his legal defense is roughly $50 million and counting. Although Dotcom is well-known for having sizeable piles of cash and extravagant tastes, his earlier assets remain frozen.




User Comments: 16

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ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

Or they could add a third verification where it asks "Are you you?", then call it a new, revolutionary THREE step verification! X-D

2 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

This sounds like a hail mary pass to me. Two-factor authentication means having a code sent to your phone via text to reset your password... or a secure ID token to use in addition to a password. The first doesn't sound like something that could even be patented, as patents are restricted to things that are unique and not common sense. And the 2nd is used by a TON of companies.

If Google, FB or anyone gives him money it would be an admission of guilt.. similar to paying a settlement. And no one would want to start that precedent.

On the other hand, if Kim's case was valid, why has he been sitting on this for so long? If he really does own a solid patent on two-factor authentication, then he's been sitting on a winning lottery ticket that could have been paying him licensing fees for years and years. Doesn't sound logical for a guy who owns a gigantic mansion full of boats of cars.

bielius bielius said:

This sounds like a hail mary pass to me. Two-factor authentication means having a code sent to your phone via text to reset your password... or a secure ID token to use in addition to a password. The first doesn't sound like something that could even be patented, as patents are restricted to things that are unique and not common sense. And the 2nd is used by a TON of companies.

If Google, FB or anyone gives him money it would be an admission of guilt.. similar to paying a settlement. And no one would want to start that precedent.

On the other hand, if Kim's case was valid, why has he been sitting on this for so long? If he really does own a solid patent on two-factor authentication, then he's been sitting on a winning lottery ticket that could have been paying him licensing fees for years and years. Doesn't sound logical for a guy who owns a gigantic mansion full of boats of cars.

He waited until this exact time to reveal this info. Why? Only he knows, but he knows a lot

2 people like this | spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Ace up the sleeve. Love it.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I like Kim. Personality in a space dominated by boring technocrat$.

1 person liked this | ArthurZ ArthurZ said:

Kim has brains

Darr247 Darr247 said:

That's not even dotcom posting with that twitter account. If it was he'd be verified by now.

psycros psycros said:

He can't be serious. I know people who were using two-factor logins in 1997, if not before. In 1999 I used one system where they were *mandatory*. Kind of blows Dot-Com's claim to smithereens, don't it? This guy is a piece of work. Granted, he never really had any obligation to keep pirated movies off his network because it had *public* servers anyone could use. There is STILL no international law that can blame the network owner for illegal content unless it can be proven that they uploaded the content themselves or clearly invited such traffic. And yes, governments have caved to the demands of the entertainment industry time and again, often becoming attack dog proxies (and making fools of themselves in nearly every case). Despite all that, Kim is clearly no angel and no freedom fighter. At best he's a pragmatic businessman, like the guy renting out mini-storage containers that people sometimes keep stolen property in. Hey, its not HIS fault. At worst he's a facilitator who knowingly turned a blind eye to what Megaupload quickly became - a piracy clearinghouse. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle and leaves Kim looking shifty regardless. But that's totally irrelevant to his patent claims which are clearly bogus and the mark of an increasingly desperate individual. If he can prove that he's being ILLEGALLY harassed then he should start counter-suing the RIAA and the governments assisting them. Otherwise he needs to clean up his act and try to find less shady way of making a living.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Kim Dotcom is once again making headlines, but not over his controversial Mega website. Rather, Dotcom claims he invented two-factor authentication. He has promised to not sue companies using the technology; namely Google, Facebook and Twitter, but only in exchange for...
But, isn't that blackmail?

Then there's this. If he doesn't have, or isn't willing to part with the money for his own legal defense, where's he going to be getting the money for an offensive legal attack on the industry giants he claims to be willing to take on...?

Darr247 Darr247 said:

Just because there's prior use of an idea doesn't mean someone can't come along and patent it.

Darr247 Darr247 said:

If he doesn't have, or isn't willing to part with the money for his own legal defense, where's he going to be getting the money for an offensive legal attack on the industry giants he claims to be willing to take on...?

It's easy to find attorneys willing to take contingency cases, where they get 30% of the settlement as their fee. They'll push you to take the best pre-trial offer if they don't think they can prove your case in court, since if they don't win there they get nothing.

wiyosaya said:

Just because there's prior use of an idea doesn't mean someone can't come along and patent it.

True, however, there are limits on it. If I am not mistaken, what ever it is that is developed and marketed has to have at least a patent application filed within a year. If no one files that application, then whatever the development is is considered public domain at that point, and no one can patent it.

However, if there is a 1995 patent, then Dotcom could have his patent invalidated if it were ever taken to court, and I think he knows this. By saying I'm going to let you guys use this patent for free, he avoids the very real possibility that his patent will be ruled invalid, however, he replaces that court fight with a hope and a prayer that someone will help with his defense.

IMHO, this is Dotcom's latest scam, however. The companies that he is trying to extort for money for his legal defense will probably just laugh at him since he's a monetary midget in comparison to those companies and since, as I see it, there is no question that what he is doing amounts to extortion. If he was truly seeking a partnership to fight DCMA, I think he should have found a way to work with these companies instead of trying extortion first. This brings to mind the idiom "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Some people lack any skill at playing nice with their "friends."

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

That's not even dotcom posting with that twitter account. If it was he'd be verified by now.

It's the same account that www.kim.com (his website) frequently references. [link]

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

....[ ]....IMHO, this is Dotcom's latest scam, however. The companies that he is trying to extort for money for his legal defense will probably just laugh at him since he's a monetary midget in comparison to those companies and since, as I see it, there is no question that what he is doing amounts to extortion. If he was truly seeking a partnership to fight DCMA, I think he should have found a way to work with these companies instead of trying extortion first. This brings to mind the idiom "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Some people lack any skill at playing nice with their "friends."

You say "extortion", I say "blackmail'... Hm, you say, "po-tay-toe", and I say "po-tah-toe", I guess were really on the same page...

I don't think the US copyright gestapo realized when they busted Dotcom, is when you cut the head off a hydra, it grows two more. But when you cut the fat a** off a hydra like Kim, it grows fifty more. (Fat a**es of course, not heads).

wiyosaya said:

....[ ]....IMHO, this is Dotcom's latest scam, however. The companies that he is trying to extort for money for his legal defense will probably just laugh at him since he's a monetary midget in comparison to those companies and since, as I see it, there is no question that what he is doing amounts to extortion. If he was truly seeking a partnership to fight DCMA, I think he should have found a way to work with these companies instead of trying extortion first. This brings to mind the idiom "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Some people lack any skill at playing nice with their "friends."

You say "extortion", I say "blackmail'... Hm, you say, "po-tay-toe", and I say "po-tah-toe", I guess were really on the same page...

+Like for this post. LOL

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

It's easy to find attorneys willing to take contingency cases, where they get 30% of the settlement as their fee. They'll push you to take the best pre-trial offer if they don't think they can prove your case in court, since if they don't win there they get nothing.
I figure that Google, Facebook, et al, might just tell them to go f*** themselves too.

Let me be the first to suggest that the "defendants", try to borrow some of Newegg's lawyers for the duration of the case.

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