Allen sues Google, Apple, others over patents

The Microsoft co-founder's firm sues 11 companies

A firm owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has filed a lawsuit against Google, Apple, Facebook, and other companies alleging that they have violated patents related to search, multimedia, screen pop-ups and database management.

Interval Licensing filed the patent lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington. The companies named in the lawsuit are Aol, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and YouTube.

The four patents cover several technologies related to search, multimedia, databases and screen activity, said David Postman, a spokesman for Allen. Details about how the 11 defendants are allegedly infringing Interval's patents will come out as the lawsuit progresses, he said.

Interval Licensing holds patents of Interval Research, the now-defunct company founded by Allen and David Liddle in 1992 to research information systems, communications and computer science. The patents in the lawsuit cover fundamental Web technologies first developed at Interval Research in the 1990s, Interval said in a press release.

The patents covered by the lawsuit are:

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,263,507, for "Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data."

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,034,652, for "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device."

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,788,314, for "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device."

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,757,682, for "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest."

Postman called Interval Research a "groundbreaking contributor" to the development of the commercial Internet. The patents are fundamental to the ways leading e-commerce and search companies continue to operate, he said.

Some of the named companies slammed the lawsuit.

"This lawsuit against some of America's most innovative companies reflects an unfortunate trend of people trying to compete in the courtroom instead of the marketplace. Innovation -- not litigation -- is the way to bring to market the kinds of products and services that benefit millions of people around the world," a Google representative said.

"We believe this suit is completely without merit, and we will fight it vigorously," said Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes. EBay said it was reviewing the suit and intended to defend itself vigorously.

Representatives of Yahoo and Aol declined to comment. Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

Stephen Lawson in San Francisco contributed to this story.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GoogleAppleebayintellectual propertyAOLdisplaysComponentsAndrew NoyesDavid LiddleDavid Postman

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?