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Lifer
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PostSubject: Microsoft co-founder sues google, apple and others...   Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:29 am

AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google and five other companies are being sued by a company owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The lawsuit alleges multiple infringements by the defendants of internet-related patents that date back to 1999.

The patents at issue are, according to a statement from Allen's holding company, "fundamental to the ways that leading e-commerce and search companies operate today." Microsoft and Amazon.com were notable for their absence from the list of alleged infringers.

The case, which seeks a trial by jury and unspecified damages, was filed in a district court in Seattle, Washington on Friday.

Paul Allen is listed among the world's richest people. He co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates and now works as an investor and philanthropist. Together with a highly-respected Xerox developer, David Liddle, Allen set up Interval Research in 1992. Its purpose was "to perform advanced research and development in the areas of information systems, communications, and computer science," according to the lawsuit.

The firm was awarded more than 300 patents before being shut down in 2000. Four of these patents are the subject of the lawsuit. They are now owned by Interval Licensing LLC, a company owned and controlled by Allen.

The lawsuit names 11 defendants: AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo!, and YouTube, which is owned by Google.

One of the patents at issue is entitled "Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data." The defendants are accused of infringing that patent, which was filed in 1999, "by making and using websites, hardware, and software to categorize, compare, and display segments of a body of information as claimed in the patent."

Another of the patents, filed in 2000, is called "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest." The lawsuit says that patent has been infringed by the defendants "making and using websites and associated hardware and software to provide alerts that information is of current interest to a user as claimed in the patent."

Two of the patents, filed in 2004, are entitled "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device". The defendants infringe each of these patents, according to the lawsuit, "by making, using, offering, providing, and encouraging customers to use products that display information in a way that occupies the peripheral attention of the user as claimed in the patent."

"This lawsuit is necessary to protect our investment in innovation," said a spokesman for Allen. "We are not asserting patents that other companies have filed, nor are we buying patents originally assigned to someone else. These are patents developed by and for Interval."

Dennis Crouch, an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri and author of the Patently-O blog, said he expects the case to turn on the question of whether the inventions describe were obvious when the patents were filed, .

"The patents are well drafted," wrote Crouch in a blog post. "Of course, even excellent drafting cannot cure obviousness problems."

"In addition to arguing in court, I expect that the defendants will also appeal to the US Patent Office – asking the agency to take a second look at the patents via re-examination," said Crouch.
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PostSubject: Re: Microsoft co-founder sues google, apple and others...   Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:14 pm

Computing, internet and net browsing has evovled in such away today that I feel that these patents are no longer valid. So the companies in "breach" of the patent are not in the wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: Microsoft co-founder sues google, apple and others...   Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:02 pm

They use the argument without the fundemental data these things could not evolve or function therefore the breach of patent is still both applicable and valid. Tricky thin ice argument but it has a credability.
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