In a few short hours after Twitter announced the roll out of its two-factor verification security feature on Wednesday, Kim Dotcom, the multimillionaire founder of Mega and, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), master thief of intellectual propriety, laid claim to the ownership of two-step verification.
Dotcom claims he came up with the concept of two-step verification in 1997, pointing to a patent he owns describing a system where a secondary access code could be sent to a device by either SMS or a pager.
"Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, etc. offer Two-Step-Authentication. Massive IP infringement by U.S. companies. My innovation. My patent," Dotcom said in a tweet. "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."
Dotcom is referring to, of course, the massive, ongoing, battle between his estate and his role in the now-defunct megaupload.com, which hosted digital files, and the DOJ, which claims he violated U.S. copyright, allegedly costing U.S. movie studios and music labels $500 million in revenue.
The case hit a dramatic high point when, at the request of the DOJ, New Zealand sent special operations police forces to Dotcom's mansion to raid and arrest the eccentric millionaire. Dotcom has since been released and is out on bail, though the DOJ is currently fighting for Dotcom's extradition. An extradition hearing is set for August 2013.
Dotcom says he'd rather not sue Google, Twitter and the like, but he may consider it in order to pay for his legal fees, which total somewhere around $50 million. On Twitter, Dotcom offered the companies a deal: if they contributed to his legal defense, he wouldn't take them to court over their alleged infringement. Most of Dotcom's assets are frozen until his legal matters are settled.
But, as CNET explains, Dotcom may not get his way.
"While Dotcom has a patent related to the technology, it's unlikely that he controls all aspects of two-factor authentication," CNET's Shara Tibken said. "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."
But then again, Dotcom could simply be trying to garner sympathy for his plight.