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  1.    #1  
    hi all,

    I'm just glad he didn't sue me!!! He hardly left a tech firm off of the list of people he was suing!

    take care,


    Paul Allen sues Apple, Google, almost everybody else over patents 9

    Paul Allen sues Apple, Google, almost everybody else over patents
    By staff and news wires - updated

    Technolog - Paul Allen sues Apple, Google, almost everybody else over patents

    Billionaire tech investor Paul Allen today sued nearly every major Internet company including Apple and Google, on the grounds that they violated e-commerce and social network patents held by a company he invested in heavily during the late 1990s.

    The full list of companies also includes AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and YouTube (even though that is a subsidiary of Google). Allen, who made his first fortune as Microsoft's co-founder, and who is a constant presence in the life of greater Seattle, notably left Microsoft and the Seattle-based off of his list. ( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal, with a headquarters in the Seattle area, and is not named in the suit either, though other sites with similar news networks, such as Yahoo and AOL, are.)

    The suit was filed by Allen's Interval Licensing LLC, which acquired the patents from the now-defunct Allen-funded lab Interval Research.

    The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, says that four patents in the suit make up the meat of the complaint. One patent allows retail sites to suggest related products to shoppers currently viewing particular items, and lets social sites recommend related activities. Another is for finding news stories relating to a given subject. Two more patents involve displaying ads, stock quotes, news and video on computer screens.

    If you read that thinking that it resembles pretty much most of your daily Web experiences, well, that should explain why Allen's aim is so wide. However, it might also make it very hard for Allen's lawyers to prove any particular infractions to the degree necessary to receive damages. Tellingly, as the Journal is quick to point out, "The suit doesn't estimate a damage amount."

    Legal analysis
    Experts say companies that lack production but utilize old patents to make broad infringement claims tend to raise red flags. But the lawsuit points out Allen's deep history with Google, including early funding of founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, a likely attempt to distinguish this lawsuit from other opportunistic patent litigation, Stanford professor and IP litigator Mark Lemley said.

    "It's usually an indication either that the patents are invalid, or they're overclaiming them," said Lemley, whose law firm represents Google and Netflix in unrelated matters.

    "Part of what's going on here is the plaintiffs are going out of their way to say, 'Hey, look, we're really important people. We're real innovators.'"

    Allen, the 37th-richest person in the world according to Forbes, co-founded Interval Research in 1992 to develop communications and computer technology. The company, which employed more than 110 scientists and engineers at one point, filed patents over several years covering Internet search and display innovations, according to the lawsuit.

    Red flags
    Allen, 57, who has been treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, in July pledged most of his estimated $13.5 billion fortune to philanthropy after his death. He co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Bill Gates but resigned as an executive in 1983 as he overcame a first bout with cancer.

    In the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Interval is seeking damages and a halt to the alleged violations of patents it said were fundamental to e-commerce and search.

    "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," a Google spokesman said in an e-mailed statement.

    "Innovation not litigation is the way to bring to market the kinds of products and services that benefit millions of people around the world."

    Interval spokesman David Postman said the lawsuit was necessary to protect its investment in innovation.

    "We are not asserting patents that other companies have filed, nor are we buying patents originally assigned to someone else," Postman said. "These are patents developed by and for Interval."

    Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said: "We believe this suit is completely without merit and we will fight it vigorously."

    Reuters contributed to this story.
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  2. philbw's Avatar
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    Ah so this is how he was planning to pay for Wesley Mathews! I was wondering...

    (For those who have *no* idea what I am talking about: Paul Allen owns the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers just signed a player who hasn't been around very long for way more money than anyone imagined.)

    - Phil -

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