updated 01:15 pm EDT, Sun October 24, 2010
Google and Apple file to dismiss Interval lawsuit
A union of companies led by Google, as well as Apple on its own, have filed motions to dismiss a sweeping patent lawsuit launched against them by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Interval Licensing. The alliance, which includes AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, Office Max and Yahoo, called the lawsuit "scattershot" in its motion this week since it not only targeted many varied companies but couldn't identify the specific services that were allegedly infringing on its browsing and notification system patents. Without enough details, it wasn't possible for Google to even mount a defense, the Seattle court motion read.
Both Google and Apple have filed separate, secondary complaints arguing that the lawsuit should be dismissed since the companies are too indirectly linked for them to be targeted by the same complaint.
Interval Licensing is the offshoot of Interval Research, a technology group founded in 1992 that focused heavily on the Internet early on. The company was shuttered in 2000 after failing to produce significant practical developments, but it ultimately spun off both the short-lived Interval Media and the Interval Licensing group making the complaints. Critics have complained of the interest in the lawsuit for a former Microsoft executive as well as Interval's decision to sit idle on patents for years before bringing them into contention.
A spokesman for Allen claimed that the company had "worked hard" to bring technology to market but that it did so through those spinoffs as well as transferring and selling off what it had designed.