Twitter sued for letting celebrities chat online

We've often thought somebody should be held to account for inflicting Ashton Kutcher on the world, but now it seems that Twitter really is being sued for letting celebrities interact with the public online.

The micro-blogging site has become a firm favourite among public figures wanting to interact with their fans/flog stuff/reboot their flagging careers.

With 7.8 million followers, fright-wigged US pop twiglet Lady Gaga heads a top ten of Twittering slebs that includes Kutcher, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears.

Some of the UK's homegrown Twitter stars include IT-literate luvvie Stephen Fry and Manuel-bothering erstwhile film pundit Jonathan 'Wossy' Ross.

But now a company called VS Technologies wants to rain on Twitter's parade of 'talent', having filed a suit against the company for infringing its patent, 'Method and system for creating an interactive virtual community of famous people'.

In a complaint filed on Tuesday, VS Technologies alleges that Twitter has deliberately infringed US Patent No. 6,40.

The patent describes itself thus:

"A method and system for creating an interactive virtual community of famous people, or those people who wish to attain the status of a famous person, in a field of endeavour, such as arts, accounting, animal rights, business, education, engineering, entertainment..."

Still with us? Good. "...financing, government affairs, human rights, legal, medical, philanthropy, politics..."

[Deep breath.]

"...religion, research, science, sports," ... at which point, with a casual "etc.", its authors give up their exhaustive list - long before they've even reached zoology.

What follows are some rather confusing diagrams detailing a system allowing interaction over a computer network between a number of people, some of whom may or may not be famous.

Could describe just about anything? You bet.

But, surprising as it is that VS Technologies was even awarded a patent for this back in 2002 (and, we also note, the company has since then failed to make use of the patent) it's even more surprising that it's had the brass neck to test it in court - let alone ask for compensation amounting to "a reasonable royalty for the use of the patented technology, together with interest and costs as fixed by this Court".

We look forward to hearing the arguments.