Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's suit against 11 companies, including Apple, Google and Yahoo, has been dismissed, with the judge finding the allegations unclear.
The patent infringement lawsuit that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen filed
against Apple, Google
and a handful of other companies in August has been
dismissed by a district judge, ABC News
The suit, filed by Allen's Interval Licensing, was said to pertain to
patents relevant to e-commerce and search technologies, including ways to call
an online user's attention to another screen. On Dec. 10, Judge Marsha Pechman,
of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, reportedly
ruled that Interval Licensing "failed to identify the infringing products or
devices with any specificity."
According to The Wall Street Journal
the suit additionally names AOL, eBay,
Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Yahoo, YouTube and Staples as
offenders -though their exact offenses were apparently unclear. According to
ABC, Pechman said she and the defendants could not determine from the lawsuit
what devices infringed on the four patents.
August filing of the suit
, a spokesperson for Allen told the Journal
, "Paul thinks this is
important, not just to him but to the researchers at Interval who created this
technology. We recognize that innovation has a value, and patents are a way to
With Bill Gates, Allen founded Microsoft in 1975, but after being diagnosed
with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma resigned from his position in 1983. After the
disease was successfully put into remission, Allen dabbled in a number of
high-profile business investments, including the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers
and the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. He founded Interval Research in 1992, with the
hope of developing new technologies to spur industry. Before closing down in
2000, it filed for approximately 300 patents. Reportedly, the patents involved
in the suit are now owned by Interval Licensing.
In November 2009, Allen's illness returned, but a spokesperson has since
declared that he "currently has no medical issues."
According to ABC, Allen doesn't believe that the judge's decision has put an
end to the matter, and he plans to refile.
"The case continues to move forward," David Postman, a spokesperson for
Interval's parent company, Vulcan, said in a note, ABC reported.
The case is hardly the only dispute Apple is currently involved in, with
patent litigation seeming to be an industry specialty in 2010. Apple and Nokia
have each traded several patent-infringement allegations, both in U.S. District
Courts and with the International Trade Commission-proceedings for which have recently
Apple and HTC have also filed suits
against one another; Motorola and Microsoft are similarly duking it out; and
NTP-known for its years-long legal battle with BlackBerry maker RIM-in July
filed patent suits against Apple, HTC, LG
Electronics, Microsoft and Motorola.
However, in June, Motorola and RIM engaged in a bit of peace-making,
following their own patent-infringement allegations. The smartphone makers
announced that they had entered a settlement, and each planned to "benefit from
a long-term, intellectual property cross-licensing arrangement involving the
parties receiving cross-licenses of various patent rights."