back to article Dude who claimed he invented email is told by judge: It's safe to say you didn't invent email

A US district judge has dismissed the libel lawsuit entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai filed against bloggers who rubbished his claims he invented email. Judge Dennis Saylor ruled [PDF] on Wednesday that Techdirt posts that trashed Ayyadurai's claims of inventing an electronic message system we know today as email were covered by …

  1. The Nazz Silver badge

    Just imagine the next case ...

    Judge : It's safe to say you didn't invent e-mail.

    Plaintiff : What makes you so sure?

    Judge : You're only 17 years old now.

    Presumably in the case at point, the guy had legal representatives acting (supposedly) for him?

    Isn't it about time that they themselves suffered greatly, significantly, when losing such frivolous cases? Like say a 12 month ban on bringing any more cases.

    It just may cut down on the caseload.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Just imagine the next case ...

      It looks like he is appealing, so I suppose his lawyer has a holiday home to pay off, or expensive private school tuition to pay.

      I think that's what is happening, but to be honest I dozed off reading the last sentence where the lawyer explained about false something and constitution something and whatever.

      The guy deserves what he gets.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Just imagine the next case ...

      I wouldn't consider the case vexatious or frivolous. The judge agreed that he had invented an email system, just that it wasn't the first, and not necessarily what anyone else would consider email we have today.

      However, if the judge had said what we have now derived from that, he was first, then the statements against him would have been false, would have been libellous, would not have received first amendment protection, and he would have been entitled to damages.

      There was legitimate disagreement and the court settled that. Exactly how it's meant to work.

      If the court had considered it vexatious or frivolous they would have said so. Just because a ruling goes the way one always thought it should doesn't make it vexatious or frivolous.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Just imagine the next case ...

        @Jason Bloomberg " invented an email system" - All the judge agreed was that he wrote an email system not the he invented email. The judge noted that assigning appropriate credit to all who deserve it for email is not a trivial task. In essence, this issue in this case of invention is sufficiently murky that reasonable people often will often give credit to others for their more fundamental work on email systems. This clown refused to acknowledge that was significant prior art (including what many consider functioning email systems as we currently understand email) prior to his program. Techdirt's commentary noted there was significant prior art and they stated their belief his claims were BS as he did not invent email only built on what was there.

      2. Aus Tech

        Re: Just imagine the next case ...

        Jason Bloomberg, you're missing the point that even if it was the first email program, doesn't mean that it is the most commonly adopted version of those that are currently available, around the world.

      3. Oh Homer Silver badge
        Headmaster

        "Invented" vs "Produced"

        I see this bullshit all the time, mostly from Apple (or rather its starry-eyed fanbois, since I can't ever remember any statement from Apple claiming to have actually invented anything, although they are very fond of the word "innovate", which is supposedly a different concept - improving rather than creating).

        And here it is again, this time some guy who merely "wrote a program", but who thinks that somehow qualifies as an "invention", because it's (correctly) protected by ... copyright, which has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with invention.

        Executive summary: Invention is the method, production is one implementation of that method.

        Neither is ever entirely unique, but is merely the accretive result of existing works, which is then temporarily afforded state protection for the purpose of "promot[ing] the progress of science and useful arts".

        This is a privilege to induce participation (or more bluntly, a bribe), not any sort of moral entitlement (specifically because your work is merely the result of "standing on the shoulders of giants"), hence the temporary status.

    4. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Flame

      Missed this

      Ayyadurai attorney Charles Harder is the same attorney who gained fame and fortune by suing media outlets large and small on behalf of Hulk Hogan, Melania Trump and other clients unhappy with their press clippings. He's the attorney who sued Gawker Media out of business.

      As part of the financial settlements that accompanied the $135 million sale of Gawker Media’s assets to Univision in August 2016, Ayyadurai received $750,000 to drop his lawsuit against Gawker.

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      TL:DR Bosch hammer drill* throws sueball when website calls BS on his claim of inventing email

      I think that's about the size of it.

      Where I went to college writing email or chat programs was something of a competitive sport.

      Is his name on the relevant IETF RFC's?

      Thought not.

      * A colossal tool

  2. whoseyourdaddy

    Senator?

    Massachusetts?

    What?

    1. Notas Badoff

      His claims...

      to having a massive ego were never in doubt.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      CANDIDATE for senator.

      Anyone can run for the office. We're somewhat picky about who we elect to the office.

      // wish I could say the same for the rest of our country

      1. Chemical Bob
        Trollface

        Speaking for the rest of the country, we are also somewhat picky about who you guys elect.

        1. Aus Tech

          In other words, nobody voted for Trump, so he's just a figment of your imagination. Not my problem, as I don't live anywhere within the boundaries of the USA, I hope.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "We're somewhat picky about who we elect to the office."

        I agree, comrade.

    3. Fred Goldstein

      After Shiva got roundly criticized by any sane person for his ridiculous claim about inventing email, and after his brief marriage to former TV star Fran Drescher, he became a Trump acolyte and decided to run for Senate against Elizabeth Warren. He has no chance, but it gives him an opportunity to have a big campaign bus with his name on it parked in front of his Cambridge office, to go on right-wing media around the country, to collect campaign donations from banksters and others who don't like consumer advocate Warren, and to keep the unspent campaign money when he loses (Massachusetts is pretty lenient in that regard).

      In other words, keep grifting.

      I do note, however, that US libel law makes it harder to sue for libel if you're a "public figure". If you are running for high office, you probably have become a public figure. I am aware of a man whose ex-wife's divorce lawyer wrote and self-published a *hilarious* philippic against him when he put his name on the New Hampshire primary ballot for Vice President (which takes negligible effort). This made him a public figure and he could then only sue if the book contained "actual malice" (knowledge that it was false). Hence he opened himself to the book and could do nothing about it.

      If Shiva wants to sue anyone who calls him out now, he has to pass a higher hurdle than before.

  3. Forestman
    Thumb Down

    Only the best will do

    Oh, please, Massachutes, don't vote him into office. We don't need bad liars in government. We want only the very best.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Only the best will do

      They have Fauxahontas as a Senator, why would they not elect him. He has a prime requirement for them: he is a liar.

    2. Wulfhaven

      Re: Only the best will do

      Your current POTUS is a very strong argument against that you want only the best liars. He is a very skilled demagogue, but a shitty liar in that his lies are easily spotted. Of course, if the quality of a liar is decided on the quantity of lies, he is a splendid liar indeed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only the best will do

        Trump's got a fantastic tell-tale for lying (besides his lips moving, yadda-yadda), he invariably accompanies his most egregious lies with a resounding "believe me"!

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: Only the best will do

          When I hear any politician say "the fact is..." I take it as read that whatever follows is a complete "notfact".

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Trump's got a fantastic tell-tale

          The problem isn't that OPOTUS lies, it is that he believes everything he's told by his go-to advisors without fact-checking.

          When the outright lies are mixed in with falsehoods he genuinely believes in and dubious stuff he thinks isn't important enough to get right first time, no-one can trust a single thing he says.

          Hence "his lips are moving".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Trump's got a fantastic tell-tale

            The fact that you believe that trump believes what he says shows me how common it is for people of the Left persuasion to believe almost anything that matches their innate bigotry.

            Trump is a chain jerker.

            Elsewhere he's more than that.

    3. This is my handle
      Joke

      Re: Only the best will do

      Quite right. I know at least one guy that won the popular vote only to lose the electoral college, largely IMHO, because he was a terrible liar. This despite a successful career as US Senator, author, environmentalist, and the guy who invented the Internet!

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Only the best will do

        I don't think that Gore ever claimed to have invented the Internet, he said that he made the Internet possible by promoting the central communications backbone in the US - prior to that, it was a major effort just to find an account that I could connect my 110 baud modem to and receive anything back except #$^TRY&&#!#

        1. GBE

          Re: Only the best will do

          "I don't think that Gore ever claimed to have invented the Internet,"

          You're right, he never claimed that. He said something about how he was proud to have been instrumental in passing the bill that provided funding that helped "create" the internet. He was referring to the 1991 High-Performance Computing and Communications Act (generally known as the Gore bill according to sources such as the Washington Post). Everybody who wasn't trying deliberately to misread the quote in order to rev up know-nothing Fox News viewers knew that's what he was talking about.

      2. Aus Tech

        Re: Re: Only the best will do

        "and the guy who invented the Internet!". Now, now, no pork pies (lies). The original project that started what is now known as the Internet was invented by the US Department of Defense, with the establishment of the DARPA network, over 50 years ago. It included places like the Goddard Space Center, and many of the then most powerful known computers in the world.

    4. Jaybus

      Re: Only the best will do

      "We don't need bad liars in government. We want only the very best."

      Such as Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Only the best will do

        > Such as Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet.

        Debunked above....Al Gore didn't 'invent' the Internet, he was instrumental in *financing* it. I thought we'd passed that stage of deliberately misreading soundbites.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Only the best will do

          Debunked above....Al Gore didn't 'invent' the Internet, he was instrumental in *financing* it. I thought we'd passed that stage of deliberately misreading soundbites.

          He didn't even *finance* (with other people's money, mind you) the "internet" (as it already existed 20-something years), but rather pushed through a bill for the enhancement and extension of an ALREADY EXISTING system. Progressives LOVE to take credit for everything but being the arrogant dimwitted weenies they are.

    5. Public Citizen
      Go

      Re: Only the best will do

      I take that to mean that Massachusetts only needs ~good or better~ liars in government.

      Am I correct in my interpretation?

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Only the best will do

        I take that to mean that Massachusetts only needs ~good or better~ liars in government.

        Hey, they need to eventually replace Ted "A Blonde in Every Pond" Kennedy.

  4. td97402

    Where Do I Find These Lawyers

    I described, in 33 handwritten pages of notes, a scheme whereby documents, pictures and executable scripts could be interlinked on multiple networked computers. I wrote the code and demonstrated a beta version of it to colleagues. This was back in 1985. I am pretty sure I invented the web. I need to sue someone. I keep hearing about Tim Berners-Lee. Can I sue him?

    1. Sampler

      Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

      You kid, but I wrote a website (still have all the code floating around on an old disk somewhere) that transformed closed nit group forum software into a more open and shared experience, allowing direct messaging and self profiles where you can share details of yourself and pictures.

      We know a similar thing today as Facebook.

      I am not suing Facebook, many people have similar ideas, those that press on with them, preserve and build the monoliths are welcome to the fruits of their labours, whilst me dicking around with a few mates online can disappear into the obscurity where it mostly lived..

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

        @Sampler - So you invented social networking for lice, when previously they could only network before they hatched? I never realised.

        Nit - the egg of a louse or other parasitic insect.

        Close-knit - bound together by strong relationships and common interests.

        And now a need a shower.

      2. td97402

        Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

        I’m only kidding about the suing of Tim Berners-Lee. i actually did write the notes out and code the project demo, in my Denver apartment, in 1985. The thing is, like this E-Mail case, lots of people were doing lots of things similar to my distributed, hyperlinked document tree, and my project had nothing to do with development of what we know as the web today.

    2. Ben Bonsall

      Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

      Bottom of a pond.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

        OK, I'll bite...

        Don't blame the lawyers - it's this guy and his ego that are the problem.

        The thing is, he seems to genuinely believe he is right - and, if instead this was some plucky underdog taking on Outlook, we'd be probably cheering him (and by extension his lawyers) on.

        Everyone should be entitled to legal representation to argue for what they believe is right, whether they are accusing or defending. Unfortunately, 'everyone' encompasses a lot of assholes. But that's not the lawyer's fault.

        That said, there is something about the total lack of self reflection within the American psyche that makes some of this US lawyer's comments cringe-worthy...

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

          A total lack of self reflection is by no means a monopoly of American lawyers, particularly in the music business I have seen a couple of real prizes in the UK and Europe.

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

            "particularly in the music business I have seen a couple of real prizes in the UK and Europe."

            Douglas Adams in fact wrote a book about it.

    3. JamesPond
      Joke

      Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

      @d97402

      "This was back in 1985. I am pretty sure I invented the web. I need to sue someone."

      I think you'll find that neither you or Tim Berners-Lee invented the net, it was British Telecom as they invented the hyperlink

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/06/20/bt_invented_hyperlinks_shock/

      1. td97402

        Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

        Of course I didn’t invent the web. My facetious post was intended to make the point that neither did the complainant in the E-Mail case invent email. My project was interesting but went nowhere and was an interesting college comp-sci project, at best. It is just amazing how far obviously frivolous lawsuits can get in this county.

        if we could close down half of the law schools and re-open them as med schools we’d be a lot better off.

        1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

          Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

          "if we could close down half of the law schools and re-open them as med schools we’d be a lot better off."

          You want the sorts of people that go to those schools mucking around with your innards instead?!!? *shudder*

          I'll pas, thanks.

      2. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

        > as they invented the hyperlink

        But as any fool know, the internet didn't exist until <blink />

      3. Aus Tech

        Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

        JamesPond, "I am pretty sure I invented the web", "I think you'll find that neither you or Tim Berners-Lee invented the net". Come on, get your definitions correct. The World Wide Web is not The Internet, it is only one part of the Internet.

    4. EveryTime Silver badge

      Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

      "I am pretty sure I invented the web. I need to sue someone. I keep hearing about Tim Berners-Lee. Can I sue him?"

      Yes. Yes you can.

      A warning.

      It's Sir Berners-Lee now. 'Sir' is a title given to knights. Knights have swords. You have, what, a keyboard? While some claim that the pen is mightier than the sword, this is generally disproved in combat. And a keyboard isn't even as mighty as a pen. So I don't hold out much hope for your chances.

      1. td97402

        Re: Where Do I Find These Lawyers

        “It's Sir Berners-Lee now. 'Sir' is a title given to knights. Knights have swords. You have, what, a keyboard?”

        I have a high-power green laser. Hopefully, Sir Berners-Lee is wearing red sunglasses.

  5. Paper

    But making false claims isn't illegal unless it harms someone or people. Or it shouldn't be if it is! We may as well ask the government what is true and false so we can avoid going to jail...

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Calm down dear, you're making a lot of incorrect assumptions in just one short paragraph.

      1) Illegal is the wrong word, this was a civil case. Just because it is legal to say something, doesn't mean that you can't be sued. Indeed, in the US there's very little speech that is illegal, but the yanks always seem to be suing each other.

      2) He was arguing that Techdirt saying that he did not invent email was in fact harming him (presumably because he uses that claim to drum up business). Deciding if it was in fact harmful or not was one of the things that the court case was about.

      3) Generally, if you are sent to jail, it's because the government, in the form of a judge and jury, have decided that it is true that you have committed a crime, and you are sent to jail. If the charges are false, you're not.

  6. R3sistance

    Constantly Lying.

    A quick search on Shiva Ayyadurai quickly reveals how scummy his claims for inventing e-mail is. He claims to have invented it in 1978, but the first email client was invented in 1971/1972 by Ray Tomlinson. So what did Shiva invent? Nothing, he just made a program that did which has already done and claimed adding some functionality means he invented it... clear lie.

    He also tried to sue Gawker when they called him out as a fraud. There is nothing significant or notable about Shiva Ayyadurai's claims around e-mail other than him suing anybody that calls him out on clearly having not invented email. I'm expecting a call from a lawyer any second now...

    1. fishman

      Re: Constantly Lying.

      Shiva's program does not even send messages to users on other computers - only between users on the same computer.

    2. Jonathan 27

      Re: Constantly Lying.

      If you repeat something enough times people will start believing you. That's the only think his claim is based on. Even at the time he wrote his program, similar programs were already available. There is no fact behind his claims, just repeated claims. He uses methods commonly used in confidence scams.

  7. Lysenko

    Careful!

    You described him as a "libel lawsuit entrepreneur" there. Obviously accurate of course, but to a pathological litigant that's no obstacle to calling in m'learned friends.

  8. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Happy

    What I find weird is that as a migrant himself, he stood for the Republicans to address "the immigration problem" among other things ... I guess some will say he should show the example and be the first to go back ...

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      "the immigration problem"

      He's just trying to protect his arsetsassets. Clearly he can't want that more people come over pulling dodgy claims out of their arses. It's threatening his alternative reality.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: "the immigration problem"

        I forgot to add, I think immigration is not a problem. I also think that in our circles, that is consensual as we all know our ancestors came from Africa anyway ... as for his alternative reality, well ... he was 14 when he implemented a messaging solution and thus has earned some arrogance, however, SMTP/POP/IMAP are the foundation of our email technology, ARE NOT his brain-child, nor an evolution of his solution ... I rest my case, as the judge did.

        Please Ayyadurai, STFU, thank you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "the immigration problem"

          actually unix mail and UUCP are the foundation...

  9. Draco
    Windows

    Don't think his invention is the precursor to what we now call email.

    I think all that truthfully said about Shiva Ayyadurai's claim is:

    In the late 70s he developed an electronic office communication system which he called EMAIL.

    He applied a skeumorphic transformation of real-world concepts (In Box, Out Box, CC, BCC, etc) to his system.

    However, I don't think he can truthfully claim to have invented THE email we use today - which evolved from a completely different set of technologies.

    He can claim he invented AN email system, but not THE email system (especially since electronic communications predates his invention).

    At best, his was an independently conceived and implemented evolutionary dead end, which probably saw itself as a closed, rather than open, system.

    Perhaps the only thing he can truly be credited for is EMAIL (unless there is evidence of earlier use of the term).

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Don't think his invention is the precursor to what we now call email.

      I think the point is that he didn't invent anything. He implemented an existing standard to create a program that could send an email.

      Implementation != invention.

      I have written a very simple program that sent SMS texts to a SMS gateway when this stuff was somewhat newish. 2 entry boxes (to & content) with a 160 character limit. And a counter to show how many characters you had left, and a print button. Simple, but effective and it stayed in use for something like a decade. Doesn't mean I invented SMS. If I had of done then i'd have implemented a better queing system and failure notification for starters.

    2. fishman

      Re: Don't think his invention is the precursor to what we now call email.

      CC and BCC were part of RFC 733 which came out in 1977.

  10. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Unhappy

    1971 ....

    so why do most people still reach for a phone ?

    1. AndyS

      Re: 1971 ....

      To speak to someone?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To speak to someone?

        except a phone call and an email are not zero-sum activities.

        An email:

        can be sent at the convenience of the sender (no having to wait to speak to someone)

        can contain precise details of the issue in a handy copy-n-paste format

        can contain attachments

        can be dealt with at the convenience of the recipient

        can be passed around internally in complex discussions

        requires very little additional auditing

        A phone call:

        has none of the above

        1. Just Enough

          Re: To speak to someone?

          It's almost like different forms of communication have different strengths and weaknesses!

          I wonder if anyone else has noticed this, or can I claim to be the first?

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
            Happy

            Re: To speak to someone?

            The strength of mail by carrier pigeon is that the message is supplied along with a tasty treat.

            The weakness is that it's very hard to reply.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: To speak to someone?

              "The strength of mail by carrier pigeon is that the message is supplied along with a tasty treat."

              OTOH, given that you have to supply the pigeon you might wish to forgo the treat. Shooting the messenger is one thing, eating it, especially when it's your own messenger, is another.

              BTW The big weakness is the difficulty of supplying the pigeons to people who might wish to correspond with you.

          2. Adam 1 Silver badge

            Re: To speak to someone?

            @just enough

            Just a slight tweak:

            It's almost like different forms of communication on a mobile device have different strengths and weaknesses!

            Now you're clear.

        2. Kaltern Silver badge

          Re: To speak to someone?

          A phone call should probably have most of the above though...

          Except an attachment. That's wandering into a different subject altogether...

        3. david 136

          Re: To speak to someone?

          Phone call contents aren't subject to discovery.

        4. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: To speak to someone?

          "

          A phone call:

          has none of the above

          "

          Horses for courses.

          You cannot beat a live conversation when it comes to discussing a complex issue, and such discussions are a lot faster when they involve voice communication than when they are conducted textually.

          As just one example, think of discussing a medical issue with a doctor so that the doctor ends up with a reasonable diagnoses. Each answer to a question provokes a new question that is based upon the previous answer. This would require many rounds of emails, but could be achieved in a single fairly short discussion.

  11. Tezfair
    Facepalm

    In that case, I invented the 'slide to open' back in 86

    When the wife worked at a restaurant, and I used to dabble in coding the sinclair spectrum, I recreated her till (just for the fun of it). At they time they used fobs to sign in. So I did a slide to sign in at the bottom of the screen using a joystick and button (no mouse and the TV wasn't touch screen!!)

    Wish I kept all of that, could be worth zillions now

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: In that case, I invented the 'slide to open' back in 86

      Pretty sure that the toilet door at my parents' house in the mid-70s represents prior art

  12. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Alien

    Snide remarks

    "The public, and the courts, should not tolerate false speech, particularly when it causes people harm, and irresponsible media companies should stop using the Constitution as an excuse for their reckless dissemination of false information."

    Mr President, consider yourself chastised.

    Sorry, your orangeness, "chastised" means "told off".

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    infinity monkeys in infinite time....

    .....will statistically type every combination of letters available however when they type a pattern that is already used to refer to an existing system it doesn't mean they get to claim they invented it.

    Hes said he created a program called EMAIL in 1978, fair enough but wiki says SMTP has been about since 1971 when he would have been 7seven years old.

    A seven year old contributing to the SMTP messaging system would surely have been news at the time and remembered.

    It used to be that you could only rewrite history after killing everyone who might disagree, now they just go to court instead it seems.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: infinity monkeys in infinite time....

      "A seven year old contributing to the SMTP messaging system would surely have been news at the time and remembered."

      I dunno - RFC821 was spectacularly simple. A bright 7-year-old using the IRC name "OldD00d1964" could have helped. After all, my son seems to know everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) about Nintendo...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only if only...

    Back in 1991-ish I created a multiuser chat program for computer class (no network save a shared floppy drive... oh the noises it made when running the chat). It mimicked the local multi-line BBS I was a member of at the time. Was before I knew of the Internet, That said I'm not going around telling people I created IRC or ICQ or AIM or Instant Messaging in general.

    Sometime around 2006 I had an idea for a micro blogging service which one could update via SMS texts. Built a crude prototype on my home server. Didn't do anything more with it. I'm not going to claim to have invented Twitter.

    1. Naselus

      Re: If only if only...

      "I'm not going to claim to have invented Twitter."

      Of couse you aren't. I invented it, and so did my wife.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: If only if only...

        "I'm not going to claim to have invented Twitter."

        Of couse you aren't. I invented it, and so did my wife.

        Now now.. Just 'coz she often calls you a twit doesn't mean...

    2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: If only if only...

      "...I'm not going around telling people I created IRC or ICQ or AIM..."

      ...because the vast majority of people wouldn't know what you were talking about?

    3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: If only if only...

      Hey, I invented instant chat back in 1985!

    4. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: If only if only...

      Pffft, in 1986/1987, I hacked together a simple chat program on the BBC computers using the local econet network, which was considered especially cool as it could span the bridges and talk to other econet networks in the other classrooms.

      I kept calling it a crap piece of code, but it took off in the school, and became known as "crappy-chat". It behaved more or less like a more simple irc.

      Even then, I couldn't take credit. A friend who had used online services (I hadn't at that point) told me that a "chat program between classrooms would be cool".

      I had to ask him what he meant by a chat program, as I hadn't heard of them!

      Neither of us ever claimed to have invented anything.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: If only if only...

        Damn you J.G! You beat my post by seconds...

        I guess you can sue me for prior art now.

        Interesting screenshots, though! How did you get them?

        I dumped all my econet hacking stuff to 5 1/4 inch floppy before leaving school, and have never accessed them since. I know where they are still - in a draw in a cupboard in my old bedroom at my parents house. They haven't been touched in 30 years. I wonder if they are still readable, and what I could use to read them?

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: If only if only...

          I got the screenshot by *SPOOLing a few minutes in TALK while jumping between machines typing at them, then copying the file over to my PC, running BeebEm and *PRINTing the file, then taking a screen copy.

          If it wasn't in MODE 7 I could have *BMPSave'd directly from the Beeb, but I haven't finished the MODE 7 conversion code.

          And I've just checked my documentation for TALK, and the first working version was in Spring 1983! :)

    5. Goobertee

      Re: If only if only...

      >>I'm not going to claim to have invented Twitter.

      That's a wise thing to do. Otherwise you might get blamed for making the hundreds of messages left by the super-twit possible.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We've all had little flashes of brilliance, some of us have worked on them and abandoned them. Over the last 35 years of working in IT I'm sure I'm invented some stuff that no one else thought of, but like most I had a real life to get on with and dead-end code is dead-end code.

    Unless I have 100% proof that what I built was valid, usable and went into production of some sort, I'm not going to bother wasting my time suing someone else who may have come up with a similar idea to me at the same time but they had the balls to go out and turn into something truly workable and even financially beneficial.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Exactly. If someone pinches your stuff then that's different, but if someone happens to successfully develop something they independently thought of, which you earlier thought of, but did nothing about, then sucks to be you.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "We've all had little flashes of brilliance, some of us have worked on them and abandoned them. Over the last 35 years of working in IT I'm sure I'm invented some stuff that no one else thought of"

      This is the essence of programming. You're presented with a problem and you invent stuff to solve it. The core of programming patterns was the realisation that in general programmers (or, as the law calls them, persons skilled in the art), faced with a given problem, will produce similar inventions.

      This should set a bar for claiming a patentable invention: it should be demonstrable that the problem has been recognised for some time and acknowledged to have not had a solution. Only in that way does it become clear that the level of originality in the invention exceeds that expected of persons skilled in the art.

      I suppose one of the few examples of this is HTTP/HTTPL. It should also be salutary to realise that it wasn't simply the invention itself that made the web successful; it was making it freely available. Without that it would have had as little effect as the patent of BTs which seems to have simply sat on the shelf until someone decided to try to use it to cash in on other people's work in producing working code.

  16. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Costs?

    I sincerely hope that defence costs will be paid by the nutter.

    Ideally, can the court award triple costs for being an idiot? - no-one should have to face financial costs because of optimistic loons.

  17. d3vy Silver badge

    Its absolutely absurd that ANYONE can claim to have invented email.

    Maybe you could claim to be the first to implement it.. but email is a natural progression from postal mail and telegraph messages.

    This is no different from the [Existing Technology] *On a mobile device* patents.

  18. King Jack
    Joke

    Binary

    I Invented binary. When I tried to sue the world the judge gave me the finger.. the middle one on his right hand.

    case closed

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Binary

      I Invented binary. When I tried to sue the world the judge gave me the finger.. the middle one on his right hand.

      I invented ELECTRONS. Either pay me royalties, or remove them from everything you own.

  19. W4YBO

    Take a look at his Wikipedia page...

    ...for a few giggles. He married Fran Drescher (The Nanny) in 2014. 'Nuff said.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Take a look at his Wikipedia page...

      and?

    2. Fred Goldstein

      Re: Take a look at his Wikipedia page...

      > He married Fran Drescher (The Nanny) in 2014. 'Nuff said.

      Not 'nuff said. They split up in September, 2016; only together for two years.

  20. 45RPM Silver badge

    I invented the letterbox. And peas. But I’m a bit older than he is.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I hate mushy peas. I'm suing you for mental trauma!

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Give peas a chance.

        1. David Nash Silver badge

          Give peas a chance

          You copied that from a bridge on the M25. Somebody sue, quick...

        2. Swarthy Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          "I think so, Brain, but if we give peas a chance, won't the lima beans feel left out?"

  21. Allonymous Coward
    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He seems like a charming fellow too

      His other lawsuit where he claims to have invented being a twat is looking much more promising...

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: He seems like a charming fellow too

      Interesting point. I wonder if he's being driven by imagining prejudice against him for being low caste when nobody in the West cares?

      Back in the early 80s the plant manager at Leyland in Madras, if I remember rightly, was low caste but took enormous joy out of being able to sit at lunch eating meat while his high-caste reports had to sit around and watch. I do admire that kind of chutzpah.

  22. nickx89

    they never get it.

    .. and people never get the false popularity! One odd thing and everybody starts going crazy instead of ignoring the fact that he might be stupid. Everyone's tagging techdirt, people are talking techdirt, eyes are on techdirt.

  23. sisk Silver badge

    So he's claiming to have invented email based on a system he wrote in 1978......when email in a form recognizable as such by modern users has been around since 1973...and then slamming people for "false speech" for calling him out on it.

    I believe the appropriate phrase from modern yoof culture would be "GTFO".

  24. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Where did this Troll get his . . .

    'doctorate' from (and which post office)?

  25. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Headmaster

    What's the constitution got to do with anything?

    So, one party says another part wrote bad things about them that were false and damaging, so they go to court to seek redress.

    This sounds to me like a simple case of supposed libel.

    That doesn't make it a free-speech rights issue, and even worse, it has sod all to do with the government, and therefore sod all to do with the first amendment.

    1. Fred Goldstein

      Re: What's the constitution got to do with anything?

      Nobody wrote false and damaging stuff about Shiva. True and damaging, sure, but under American law (thanks to the First Amendment, which brought about this distinction from British law, which we inherited), truth is an absolute defense against libel.

      Leon Uris wrote the novel QB VII about a libel case in England brought by an exposed Nazi. Spoiler: The court found for the Nazi, because the true statements harmed him, and awarded him damages of one whole pound.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: What's the constitution got to do with anything?

        As I understand it, if you can prove the truth of your statements, it's not libel. Even if it harms someone's reputation. The problem is where you can't. In England and Wales (Scotland has a different legal system) you can allege something you believe to be true, but if you can't prove it to the jury's satisfaction - then you lose. And the burden of proof is on you, the defendant, which is unusual compared with most other types of case. So Private Eye lost to Robert Maxwell about his theft of company money, because they had the right inside info, but were unable to prove it. And even after his death, and wrongdoing became public knowledge, I seem to remember they tried to recover their libel loss from his estate and still didn't get it.

        The US is different. It's not truth that the Constitution protects, it's freedom of speech. And I think the US leans far more towards fair comment. If you weren't publishing it maliciously and you sincerely believed it to be true, and had actually done some checking, then you don't have to prove your allegations to the civil court standard of "in the balance of probabilities". Criminal standard being "beyond reasonable doubt", of course.

    2. DieHeretic

      Re: What's the constitution got to do with anything?

      The First Amendment literally says that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press". Accordingly, Congressional laws against slander and libel can only be enforced insofar as they do not abridge freedom speech or of the press. Accordingly, every single claim made under the slander and libel laws has to be evaluated as to whether enforcement of the claim would abridge either of those freedoms. If it would, the law against slander/libel is unconstitutional, and therefore the law is null, and thus the claim of slander or libel is null.

  26. Herby Silver badge

    Email...1978...Huh?

    Email in one form or another has been around since the 1960's (then is was to users on the same computer). It did take a while to get from machine to machine, but there it was.

    Anyone can implement and email program (I thought about at one time, but passed), and call it "EMAIL". I'm sure many have done so. Not very unique.

    Invention implies "new and novel". I suspect that this chap has done neither.

  27. Samizdata
    FAIL

    Here's my thing. As soon as you start tossing around comprehensice sueballs at everyone that criticizes you, that says to me, "Patent troll!"

    That seems to be their default goto.

    1. soulrideruk Bronze badge

      It reminds me of the default actions of a desparate liar who has been caught out and is flailing around desparate to make enough noise so some people believe them.

  28. James Anderson

    Proir art

    Petty sure the first "mail" program that looked like e-mail ran on various DEC pdp 11 operating systems. IBM comes a close second and third system linked IBM and all its customers.

  29. Dave K Silver badge

    If anyone would like to read a very detailed analysis of this whole mess, I recommend Thomas Haigh's analysis on SIGCIS - it's a fairly long read mind you, but does go through all of the claims very thoroughly indeed: http://www.sigcis.org/ayyadurai

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