Judge tosses patent suits against Facebook, Apple, Google

Dec 13, 2010
A US judge has tossed out a patent infringement lawsuit filed against Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and other firms by a company owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, pictured in 2006.

A US judge has tossed out a patent infringement lawsuit filed against Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and other firms by a company owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

A US district court judge in the state of Washington ruled that the suit failed to specify devices or products violating patents at issue in the case.

Seattle-based Interval Licensing, an Allen company, in August accused 11 online commerce and Internet search firms with infringing patents on fundamental Web technologies Interval developed in the 1990s.

The list of defendants in the lawsuit included AOL and Internet auction house as well as online movie rental firm and retail chains Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples.

Microsoft, which Allen founded with Bill Gates in 1975, was not named in the suit.

Patents at issue involved using Web browsers to find information; alerting computer users to items of interest, and an "Attention Manager for occupying the peripheral attention of a person in the vicinity of a display device."

Interval Research was founded by Allen and David Liddle in 1992.

A spokesman for Allen dismissed the ruling as a procedural matter and said that an amended complaint will be filed addressing the judge's concern.

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Gena777
not rated yet Dec 20, 2010
Even so, I expect Allen either to file an amended complaint or to appeal the ruling on this case. Someone like him doesn't tend to bring a suit like this unless he thinks he has a reasonable chance of winning. At the very least, he can use his billions to harass the tech companies via endless patent litigation, until the two sides work out some kind of settlement.
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