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Microsoft Co-Founder Sues Apple, Google and Others

Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, filed a law suit against almost a dozen technology companies, including Google, Facebook, Apple and Yahoo. The suit was filed in Seattle federal court for patent infringement. It was filed on behalf of Interval Licensing LLC, which is part of Interval Research which was founded by Allen and David Liddle.

Specific technologies at Interval Research were patented in the 1990s. Of the 300 patents in Interval Research’s portfolio, four are in question. According to Allen, the major companies are infringing upon the technology without giving recognition to Interval Research or paying the company to use the technology. The e-commerce and Web search companies being sued are AOL, eBay, Facebook, Apple, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and Youtube.

A spokesman for Allen, David Postman, commented on the suit. He said that the patents in question are “fundamental to the ways that leading e-commerce and search companies operate today.” He continued to say, “Interval Research was an early, ground-breaking contributor to the development of the internet economy. Interval has worked hard to bring its technologies to market through spinning off new companies, technology transfer arrangements, and sales of its patented technology. This lawsuit is necessary to protect our investment in innovation. We are not asserting patents that other companies have filed, nor are we buying patents originally assigned to someone else. These are patents developed by and for Interval.”

The first patent is for browser technology that can rapidly review a block of information, such as news stories. The second and third patents involves screen savers and computer wallpaper that can be used to display important information. The fourth patent involves technology that alerts users to “items of current interest.”

The damages that Allen is requesting are unspecified.

[Photo courtesy of softpedia.]