Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and who invested around $100 million in the 1990′s in a now long closed tech incubator called Interval Research, is suing Apple, Facebook, Google, AOL, Yahoo, eBay, Netflix, YouTube, Staples, OfficeMax and Office Depot over patent infringement from patents Allen still owns from Interval Research.
Not surprisingly, Allen isn’t suing Microsoft.
According to the Wall Street Journal;
“The suit lists violations of four patents for technology that appear to be key components of the operations of the companies—and that of e-commerce and Internet search companies in general. The technology behind one patent allows a site to offer suggestions to consumers for items related to what they’re currently viewing, or related to online activities of others in the case of social-networking sites.
A second patent, among other things, allows readers of a news story to quickly locate articles related to a particular subject. Two others enable ads, stock quotes, news updates or video images to flash on a computer screen, peripherally to a user’s main activity.”
We’ve had a lot of frivolous lawsuits recently from unknown companies claiming they own patents that huge companies are infringing on, but a lawsuit from Paul Allen is a whole different matter entirely. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
UPDATE: Thanks to one of our commentors below, we now have the actual complaint: