Mike Isaac

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PeopleBrowsr vs. Twitter Legal Battle Returns to San Francisco Court

twitter_bird_380PeopleBrowsr won a small victory in its ongoing litigation with Twitter on Wednesday, winning a decision to keep the case inside the state of California at the San Francisco Superior Court.

It’s a long, complicated history between the two technology companies, but here’s the gist: PeopleBrowsr relies on access to Twitter’s “firehose” of raw data — the millions of tweets flowing through Twitter’s pipes on a moment-by-moment basis — to provide data analysis to PeopleBrowsr’s client base. Twitter decided to terminate the long-standing relationship with PeopleBrowsr last year, and planned to shut off direct access to the company.

To fight that, PeopleBrowsr took Twitter to state court, alleging anticompetitive actions. Twitter argued that this should be a federal court issue and tried to parlay the fight over to a higher court of opinion. If successful, that could have invalidated PeopleBrowsr’s temporary restraining order — which was filed in a California state court — essentially terminating PeopleBrowsr’s access to Twitter’s fire hose.

“Twitter’s inconsistent representations to the State and Federal Courts reinforce our case,” said PeopleBrowsr CEO Jodee Rich in a statement. “Last week, they said this was a contracts issue. This week, it’s an antitrust issue,” said Rich.

So Wednesday’s development essentially means that Twitter’s strategy didn’t work. The case will continue on in San Francisco’s Superior Court.

“We believe this case is without merit and will vigorously defend ourselves against it,” a Twitter spokesperson told AllThingsD.

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