Twitter Wins Patent Trial Over Virtual Internet Community

Twitter Inc., the biggest U.S. microblogging service, won a trial in which closely held VS Technologies LLC alleged infringement of a patent for building virtual communities.

A federal jury in Norfolk, Virginia, today cleared Twitter of claims made by VS Technologies, according to a statement from Twitter. The patent, issued in 2002, is for “creating an interactive community of famous people.”

Twitter, which says it has more than 100 million active users, argued that its service works differently than the VS system covered by the patent. San Francisco-based Twitter had urged the jury to find the patent invalid.

“We are gratified that a jury has agreed that this suit had no merit,” Sean Garrett, a spokesman for Twitter, said in an e-mail. “While we would prefer to compete on the Internet rather than the courtroom, we will continue to vigorously defend groundless patent lawsuits filed against us.”

VS, based in Alexandria, Virginia, had been seeking about $8.4 million in compensation, an amount Twitter said would have been unreasonable even had it lost, according to a court filing.

The case is VS Technologies v. Twitter Inc., 11cv43, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Norfolk)

To contact the reporters on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net

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