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 has reported.
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.
Following the 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 reflect that."
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 begun.
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."