Twitter Patent Infringement Claim


Courtesy of Twitter

A patent owner, VS Technologies LLC, claims that Twitter has infringed its patent, and the company sued Twitter in the State of Virginia.

When Twitter users sign-on, they agree to certain Terms of Service. These Terms of Service specify that any claims by a user must be litigated in California. The inventor of the patent signed-on as a Twitter user, so Twitter claimed that the patent infringement suit should be moved from Virginia to Twitter’s home jurisdiction of California, based on the forum selection clause in the Terms of Service.

A recent US decision VS Technologies LLC v. Twitter Inc. has blocked this transfer request, reasoning that these Terms of Service do not govern patent infringement claims, that VS Technologies never assented to the Terms of Service, and that the patent owner is not seeking to enforce the Terms of Service. The court also made it clear that it did not want to establish a precedent that would apply to all social networking patent infringement claims.  

Business lessons? Online service-providers, social-networking sites and cloud-computing services should take note that forum-selection clauses do not necessarily provide blanket coverage. Forum-selection clauses have been upheld for other purposes – for example, if the claim arises in connection with a complaint over some part of the service itself – but this type of clause should not be relied upon as a defence against patent claims.

Calgary – 07:00 MT

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