updated 09:15 pm EST, Tue December 28, 2010
Interval resubmits dismissed lawsuit
Interval Licensing took a second shot at its dismissed lawsuit with an updated filing. The Paul Allen-owned company's new complaint still accuses Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix and others of infringing on e-commerce patents but now includes specific, claimed examples of how the companies allegedly copied Interval's technology. In Apple's case, Interval cited the iTunes Store's album purchasing view (pictured) as a primary example.
Most of the disputes center around automatic discovery features such as showing related content. Online stores almost always have such features today, and iTunes is heavily based around the concept both through its regular list of what others bought but also for features like the Genius. Google's YouTube has virtually no commerce aside from an independent movie rental section, but it regularly shows related videos whenever possible.
Even with the lawsuit, Stanford Professor Mark Lemley and others have characterized Interval's lawsuit as a last major gamble rather than a sincere claim. Interval Licensing is the offshoot of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's failed Interval Research, whose closure in 2000 was blamed in part on an inability to produce a real, commercial product. Its current behavior has largely mimicked that of a patent troll, which has no uses for its own patents other than to sue other companies hoping for royalties or settlements.
If successful, the lawsuit could win hundreds of millions of dollars, but the existence of prior art is a possibility and could have the lawsuit dismissed a second time. [via Seattle Times]