Microsoft co-founder relaunches tech patent suit

 

Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo among his targets.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen relaunched a wide-ranging patent lawsuit against Apple, Google, Facebook and others with specific allegations that the companies are illegally using technology owned by his company.

Interval Licensing, a small research company set up by Allen in 1992, originally filed a broad patent suit in federal court in Seattle in August, but Judge Marsha Pechman dismissed it on the grounds that it did not specify any actual products or devices. The revised suit was filed by Interval on Tuesday.

Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, claims Interval was central to research and development of technology in the Internet arena in the 1990s, amassing more than 300 patents and providing research assistance to Google.

In the suit, Allen's company claims four of its patents -- chiefly related to the way Web data is sorted and presented -- have been infringed by a number of successful companies.

 

MULTIPLE CLAIMS

The first patent concerns the generation of data related to information being browsed. Interval claims Google uses this technology to match advertisements from third parties to content being displayed, while AOL's sites use it to suggest items related to news stories.

Interval claims Apple's iTunes service uses the technology to suggest music based on a user's searches, and that eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Yahoo and Office Depot's sites have also infringed the patent in the way they direct users to related content.

The second and third patents concern relaying information on a computer screen in a peripheral, unobtrusive manner, such as in an instant messaging box or overlay.

Interval claims its patent has been infringed by features in AOL's Instant Messenger, Apple's Dashboard, Google Talk and Gmail Notifier, Google's Android phone system and Yahoo Widgets.

The fourth patent concerns alerting Web browsers to new items of interest based on activity of other users. Interval claims AOL uses this technology on its shopping sites, while Apple's iTunes uses it to recommend music.

Interval claims eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, Staples, Yahoo and Google's YouTube all have infringed the patent in the way they suggest content to users.

 

NO MICROSOFT

The suit makes no mention of Microsoft as a patent holder or infringer, even though Allen's former company offers products similar to some described in the suit. A spokesman for Allen declined to comment on the suit.

Allen, 57, is the world's 37th richest person, according to Forbes magazine. He resigned as a Microsoft executive in 1983. Since then, he has funded scientific and medical research through his Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and invested in many projects in his native Seattle and Pacific Northwest region.

Interval has asked the court for damages and a ban on products that use the disputed patents. It is unclear how seriously the court, or the companies he has targeted, will take Allen's legal charges.

"We believe this suit is completely without merit and we will fight it vigorously," a Facebook spokesman said in an e-mail.

EBay declined to comment. AOL, Apple, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, Staples and Yahoo did not immediately respond to requests for a comment.

The case is C10-1385 MJP in the U.S District Court Western District of Washington at Seattle.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Derek Caney, Dave Zimmerman).

 


Microsoft co-founder relaunches tech patent suit
 
 
 
Top Stories
First look: Microsoft Outlook for iOS
[Update] Office productivity suite for iOS completed with Outlook.
 
NewSat defaults on $26m in overdue Lockheed payments
Jabiru-1 satellite build hits further hurdles.
 
IBM denies plans to cut 112k jobs
But admits to further restructuring.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Microsoft Outlook is now on iPhone and iPad: why could this be useful?
Jan 30, 2015
Microsoft today released Office for Android and Outlook for iOS - complementing the other Office ...
Franchisees, here's something you should know about
Jan 23, 2015
You need to know the Code if you are a franchisee or franchisor as the penalties are significant.
Xero users rejoice! Quoting has finally arrived
Jan 23, 2015
It has taken years, but Xero has at last added integrated quoting to its online accounting software.
You can now get a no-contract wi-fi tablet from Telstra
Jan 17, 2015
Telstra has began selling wi-fi tablets out of contract without paying extra for cellular ...
Get your business ready for 2015: mobile payments
Jan 2, 2015
These handy apps from MYOB, Xero and others can reduce your administrative load and improve ...
Latest Comments
Polls
Who do you trust most to protect your private data?







   |   View results
Your bank
  36%
 
Your insurance company
  5%
 
A technology company (Google, Facebook et al)
  9%
 
Your telco, ISP or utility
  8%
 
A retailer (Coles, Woolworths et al)
  4%
 
A Federal Government agency (ATO, Centrelink etc)
  18%
 
An Australian law enforcement agency (AFP, ASIO et al)
  14%
 
A State Government agency (Health dept, etc)
  7%
TOTAL VOTES: 3116

Vote
Do you support the abolition of the Office of the Information Commissioner?

   |   View results
I support shutting down the OAIC.
  27%
 
I DON'T support shutting the OAIC.
  73%
TOTAL VOTES: 998

Vote