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Interval patent lawsuits frozen as patents given second look

updated 04:05 pm EDT, Fri June 24, 2011

Interval lawsuits stopped for patent reexamination

Interval Research's lawsuits against web giants has faced a setback in the past week as Judge Marsha Pechman froze the cases. All of them are on hold until the USPTO conducts a reexamination of all four of the Paul Allen-backed company's patents. The case will now go ahead only if the agency finds that the patents were still valid after checking for prior art and other criteria.

One of the four patent claims had also been given a non-final rejection that risked its claims being tossed outright.

A willingness to stay the lawsuits signals potential long-term trouble for the lawsuits, which target Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and several other companies that have online commerce. Judges can allow reexamination of patents without having to put a hold on lawsuits if they don't believe the halt would do damage or if they have concerns that the patents might not survive the process and could affect the case. With Interval's current lawsuits, Judge Pechman complained about the volume of patent complaints and has been hoping to minimize the amount of disputes she has to process.

Interval Research has faced a stiff battle for public perception. It was the offshoot of an actual research firm that tried but failed to get significant developments in the market. Since then, it has been a non-contributing company and has been criticized for behaving like a classic patent troll, waiting a decade until it can make the most profit from others' work rather than acting as soon as possible. [via IPWatchdog]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Sebastien

    Joined: Dec 1969


    " if the agency finds that the patents were still

    Yeah, God forbid the USPTO would actually do their job right the *FIRST TIME*

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969



    At one time they were severely overworked. If you have ever worked for a Government Agency, funding and new hires is always a big problem. Often it took 3 years to make computer changes. So many people are needed in "signing off" that it becomes a bureaucratic nightmare which the government seems unwilling or unable to get under control. FDA has had the same problem. Same for oil well inspectors. Too much politics.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hasn't This Guy ...

    ... already made enough money from Microsoft and his wrenches?

    Wrenchy: do you know for sure?

  1. Zanziboy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Lack of Government Funding

    If the US still values a role in technology, a properly funded patent office is necessary. This is a classic example of a lack of government funding actually impeding business and undermining the value of US intellectual property.

  1. tightzeit

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Lack of Government Funding

    Please read Jeffrey Tucker, Dr Michael Shermer and Andrew Galabos before you come to that decision.

    As laws they are restrictive and formula (or concept/idea) revealing, they are weak and generally don't work (hence the complaints). As a result some smart and lazy people use them to their own ends by sitting on patented ideas not because they can realize them, but because they can future proof the profit of their laziness through the future work of someone else.

    It's absurd. Monsanto can patent a gene only because they discovered it, and force farmers - who don't even use their product - into court on patent violation because their neighbours crop infected their own.

    Don't believe me? Google it.

    It's entirely bizarre. It DOES... NOT... WORK.

    (Except if you're a massive company with deep pockets and sinister motives)

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