August 10, 2009 - Texas company TechRadium, which sells the Immediate Response Information System (IRIS), has sued Twitter in a federal court in Houston for patent infringement.
The three TechRadium patents in suit cover a system which “simultaneously delivers uniform, reliable and verifiable emergency messages to an unlimited number of contacts within seconds, across all means and devices of communication.”
According to TechRadium's website, the military, schools, government agencies and other such entities use IRIS for emergency notification. The patent dispute arose when it came to TechRadium's attention that companies and municipalities were beginning to use Twitter for that purpose, cutting into TechRadium's profits.
TechRadium seeks cash compensation and an injunction. Twitter is the 4th most popular social media website, with 21 million unique visitors in the month of June alone.