Former pirate sues tech industry for nicking ideas

A former pirate, who created Kazaa, is taking on the biggest names in the technology industry claiming that they have nicked his ideas for cloud technology.

South African Kevin Bermeister is suing Google, YouTube, Amazon, EMC, VMWare, Dropbox, NetApps, NEC and Caringo for patent infringement in a case that experts say could run into the hundreds of millions.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald , if he wins he could get back much more than the $150 million he had to pay out after being sued by the music industry over the Kazaa file sharing service in 2005.

Bermeister is a significant shareholder and non-executive chairman of PersonalWeb, claiming that all of them have infringed eight PersonalWeb patents in their cloud computing products, “including content addressable storage and/or distributed search engine technologies”.

Michael Weiss, CEO of PersonalWeb, in a statement said that it was protecting its proprietary business applications and operations.

Analysts think that if the company wins he will score  hundreds of millions of dollars per defendant.

PersonalWeb says it has used the patents to develop related technologies such as an online collaboration platform for students dubbed StudyBods

The patents were used in Global File Registry, a technology that Bermeister and his team have been pitching to ISPs and police agencies as a way of combatting online piracy and illegal porn.

PersonalWeb alleges that the core services provided by the companies infringe its patents around identifying, processing, distributing and controlling access to data online.

It thinks that Google might find it tricky to argue against the patents because one of the patents-in-suit and the patented technology were cited in several of Google’s own patent applications.

This case is being heard in the patent troll friendly Texas court.