More than 30 companies, including the likes of Microsoft, Apple, and IBM have been targeted by India-based Kootol Software for allegedly violating technology covered in a patent application.
So far the list of targeted companies includes Amazon, AOL, Apple, Bebo, Bharti Airtel, ExactTarget, Facebook, Ford Motor, Foursquare, Google, IBM, The Iconfactory, LinkedIn, Microsoft, MySpace, Ning, Nokia, Peek, PopBox, Quora, Research In Motion, Salesforce, Seesmic, Siemens, Sina.com, StatusNet, TwitPic, Twitter, Ubermedia, Webaroo Technology, Yahoo, and Yammer.
In an announcement today, which was picked up earlier by Macworld, Kootol said it had "sent a notice" to these companies to alert them to the fact that their products and services are infringing on technology it has the exclusive rights to use. It also noted that "several other companies and developers" would be getting similar notices, and that it was open to making licensing deals.
"Kootol has also expressed concern that said companies may violate their intellectual property by using it for their Web sites, networks, applications, services, platforms, operating systems, and devices," the company said in a statement. "Kootol is in the process of examining this position and the purpose of serving this notice is to bring the fact to the attention of said multiple companies at the very earliest stage so that said companies get a full opportunity to examine the matter."
The patent application itself lists the name of Yogesh Rathod, Kootol Software Limited's founder. It covers "core messaging, publication, and real-time searching technology and affects whole products and services," the company said in a statement.
Last month the company sent a similar notice to Twitter, after announcing that it had obtained exclusive rights to the intellectual property. In that announcement, Kootol said Twitter's technology infringed on the company's invention, which covered publishing one- and two-way messaging, as well as subscribing to the feeds of other users. With today's updated list, Kootol is also going after companies that make clients for Twitter, like The Iconfactory and Seesmic.
Over at FOSS Patents, Florian Mueller notes that Kootol is in no position to begin suing anyone over the patent just yet, since it hasn't been granted. But Mueller points out that things won't be that way forever. That means there's nothing to keep the company from working out licensing deals in the interim. While potentially lucrative, Mueller says, that strategy could end up backfiring on the company's efforts to get the patent in other countries, if some of these target companies go on the offensive.
"By contacting potential future infringers while the patent application is still being examined, Kootol gives all of those organizations an opportunity to contact patent offices that (unlike the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) could still be persuaded to reject the application, such as the European Patent Office (which contrary to popular misbelief does grant European software patents on a daily basis)," Mueller wrote.