updated 08:50 am EST, Mon December 13, 2010
Court says Interval patent lawsuit too broad
Judge Marsha Pechman on Friday dismissed Interval Licensing's patent lawsuit against major online providers. The official tossed the complaint for being too "spartan," as it didn't identify what devices or services actually infringed the patents with "any specificity." The case, filed in a Western District of Washington court, accused Apple, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google's YouTube, Netflix, Office Depot, Staples and Yahoo of copying technology Interval owned patents for Internet commerce.
Interval has promised the Wall Street Journal that it would file an amended, more specific complaint before a December 28 deadline issued by Judge Pechman. It was a "procedural issue," a spokesman said.
The complaint has raised criticisms as it comes from a company backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen that is notably exempting Bing and other Microsoft properties. In its original form, Interval Research had been started in 1992 to pioneer web technology, but it had trouble producing shipping products and closed in 2000, spinning off the licensing group in the process and now threatening the web with lawsuits.
Apple and Google may have been primarily responsible for the dismissal as both had motioned for its end shortly after the case was submitted. Neither these nor eBay or other firms have commented on the dismissal.