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Microsoft co-founder firm sues Apple, Facebook over search

updated 02:55 pm EDT, Fri August 27, 2010

Interval says Apple, Google, Netflix tread patents

Interval Licensing today hoped to profit off the back of technology and retail companies today as it sued several top firms. for alleged patent infringement. It claimed that AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and YouTube specifically for purportedly infringing on four patents for "fundamental" web technology used for online commerce and search. The patents touch on a form of browsing as well as means of generating attention through design or through a notification system.

The court case, filed in the Western District of Washington, hasn't yet been posted online. Details such as damages haven't been mentioned, but Interval is likely to seek a ban on using its technology unless it can reach a settlement out of court.

Interval hoped to wield its history as an influence in the case. The company is the spinoff of Interval Research, which was created by Microsoft co-creator Paul Allen in 1992 to help spur on the web. It reportedly helped fund the early research from Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Interval Licensing, however, currently fits the definition of a patent troll as it doesn't actively produce any content of its own and instead relies on lawsuits and royalty deals for business.

None of the involved companies, or Allen himself, have commented on the lawsuit. Apple and others often typically avoid statements for ongoing cases.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Developed over a decade ago...

    ...and NOW they are trying to defend them in court?

  1. ClevelandAdv

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Patent on design?

    " well as means of generating attention through design"

    What they have a patent on generating attention through design? Really?
    Looks out Ogilvy & Mather, BBDO Worldwide, Leo Burnett and the rest of the agencies out there.

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Maybe they own the web

    Maybe they invented search. The whole question is fascinating. If you're a patent lawyer. zzzzzz.

  1. JuanGuapo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    He's suing everyone under the sun...

    ...except his former company (Microsoft) and Amazon. My guess is this has more to do with the economics of his own company in a bad economy than anything else.

  1. macnnoel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    being a jerk is in!

  1. BelugaShark

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If you cant beat them

    sue them...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: He's suing

    He's suing everyone under the sun except his former company (Microsoft)

    Of course he isn't suing Microsoft. One deals with a "means of generating attention through design". Microsoft would first have to work on the concept of design, then generating attention through it, before he could sue them.

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    paul allen

    Several years ago Allen ordered a gold toilet for his private plane, but it was too heavy, so he had to try and sell it (I don't know if it ever sold). True story.

    He also negotiated a deal for a new basketball arena in Portland (the Rose Garden - Allen owns the Portland Trailblazers). After a few years, the company he set up had to declare bankruptcy because the Rose Garden deal was so bad. One of the richest men in the world negotiates a bad deal and his company declares bankruptcy. Oh, and he later bought back the Rose Garden at a reduced price.

    Allen is a hanger-on - rode up on Bill Gates' coattails, and since then has been trying to make his own way, with a lot of failures. Now add patent troll to his resume.

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