Paul Allen's firm sues Apple, others over patents

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 30 August 2010, 02:29 Hrs
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San Francisco: Interval Licensing, a firm, run by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is suing Apple, Google and nine other major corporations accusing them of infringing on technology patents.

According to the suit, the company is asserting four patents against a cluster of defendants, including also AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and Google's YouTube.

While Google, Facebook and eBay said they will fight the accusations by Interval Licensing, companies like Apple, AOL, Office Depot, Netflix and OfficeMax declined to comment. On the other hand, the rest of the companies did not comment anything on the issue.

Allen co-founded Interval Research in 1992 to develop communications and computer technology. According to the lawsuit, the company filed patents over several years covering Internet search and display innovations. Interval Licensing now owns those patents.

Allen co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Bill Gates but resigned as an executive in 1983 as he overcame a first bout with cancer. In July, he pledged most of his estimated $13.5 billion fortune to philanthropy after his death.

In the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Interval is seeking damages and a halt to the alleged violations of patents it said were fundamental to e-commerce and search.

According to experts, companies that lack production but utilize old patents to make broad infringement claims tend to raise red flags. But the lawsuit points out, said Stanford professor and IP litigator Mark Lemley, Allen's deep history with Google, including early funding of founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

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