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Paul Allen Suing Apple Amongst Other Companies For Patent Infringement


(Image courtesy of BusinessWeek)

Remember Paul Allen?  Well, he’s about to try and make sure Apple amongst a whole slew of other tech heavy hitters don’t soon forget him.  On Friday, he sued Apple, Google and nine other companies claiming that they’re making use of technology that came about ten years ago at his now-kaput Silicon Valley lab.

Granted Allen didn’t develop any of the said technology, but he does indeed own the patents.

This would mark a first for Allen.  He is in hot pursuit of companies, including some of the biggest names such as Apple and Google, that he claims are in violation of technology that had been originally developed at Interval Research Corp., in Palo Alto, Calif., which is a lab and technology site he financed on his own with 0 million.

“Paul thinks this is important, not just to him but to the researchers at Interval who created this technology,” said Allen’s spokesman, David Postman.  “We recognize that innovation has a value, and patents are the way to protect that.”

Allen’s suit names companies like: Apple, Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and YouTube.  But missing from the list were Microsoft, with whom Allen remains a major investor and, based in Allen’s hometown of Seattle.  Postman opted to not comment on the list of defendants.

As for the actual details of the suit, it lists violations of four patents for technology that are key parts of the operations of the various companies – and of e-commerce and Internet search companies.  No estimated damage amount was listed.

In one patent, the technology allows a site to offer suggestions to consumers for items related to what they’re currently viewing, or that which might be related to the online activities of others, perhaps in Facebook’s case.

The second, gives readers of news stories the option to locate stories in a hurry in regard to a certain subject.  The other two enable ads, stock quotes, news updates or video images to flash on a computer screen, that are related to what that user is doing at the current moment.

via The Wall Street Journal

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