Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen re-launched his patent lawsuit against Apple, Google and a host of other large tech companies.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's firm Interval Licensing LLC has decided to
re-launch a patent-infringement lawsuit against some of country's biggest tech
companies, including Apple and Google. That comes despite the original
lawsuit's dismissal earlier in December.
In the wake of that dismissal, Judge Marsha J. Pechman, of the U.S. District
Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle, demanded that Allen's
legal counsel revise the lawsuit by Dec. 28. Specifically, Pechman asked for
more detailed allegations; the new case (No.
) indeed seems to delve more deeply into the defendants'
supposed patent violations.
Allen's original lawsuit, filed Aug. 27, claimed violations of patents
developed by his Interval Research Corp., a technology incubator. In addition
to Apple and Google, other companies in the crosshairs include AOL,
eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, Office Depot, OfficeMax, YouTube and Staples. The four
patents in question involve technologies related to e-commerce and online
browsing, such as online user alerts and ways for drawing users' attention to a
nearby screen. Microsoft is not named in the lawsuit.
"Paul thinks this is important, not just to him but to the researchers at
Interval who created this technology," a spokesperson for Allen told The
Wall Street Journal Aug. 27
. "We recognize that innovation has a value,
and patents are a way to reflect that."
Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, after the two saw
an article in Popular Electronics
about the MITS (Micro Instrumentation
and Telemetry Systems) Altair 8800 and decided to develop a programming
language, Altair BASIC, which could operate on it. However, Allen resigned as a
Microsoft executive in 1983 after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Following successful treatment for the disease, Allen invested in a number
of ventures, including sports teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers and
Seattle Seahawks, as well as Interval Research in 1992. Before shutting down in
2000, Interval managed to file some 300 patents, which Interval Licensing now owns.
Allen's lawsuit argues that Interval Research, in addition to evolving "into
one of the preeminent technology firms" with "over 110 of the world's leading
scientists, physicists, engineers, artists and journalists," contributed
materially to other projects. "Interval Research served as an outside
collaborator to and provided research funding for Sergey Brin and Lawrence
Page's research that resulted in Google," according to the suit.
In November 2009, Allen was again diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma,
which targets the body's network of lymph nodes. He underwent a course of
chemotherapy after which a spokesperson reported he "currently has no medical