Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen Sues Eleven Tech Companies

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Paul Allen’s company, Interval, is alleging that four of its patents have been infringed by AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube.

The patents were developed in the 90’s and include “fundamental web technologies” that Allen’s company asserts are being used “by major e-commerce and web search companies.”

According to the Wall Street Journal:

“The technology behind one patent allows a site to offer suggestions to consumers for items related to what they’re currently viewing, or related to online activities of others in the case of social networking sites.

A second, among other things, allow readers of a news story to quickly locate stories related to a particular subject. Two others enable ads, stock quotes, news updates or video images to flash on a computer screen, peripherally to a user’s main activity.”

The lawsuit doesn’t specify how much Interval is seeking in damages. Company spokesperson David Postman says, “This lawsuit is necessary to protect our investment in innovation. 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.”

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