Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has a company called Interval Licensing, and it is suing the following eleven companies: AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube.
The claim, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington, alleges that these companies have infringed upon patents held by Interval. The patents in question include:
- United States Patent No. 6,263,507 issued for an invention entitled "Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data."
- United States Patent No. 6,034,652 issued for an invention entitled "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device."
- United States Patent No. 6,788,314 issued for an invention entitled "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device."
- United States Patent No. 6,757,682 issued for an invention entitled "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest."
"Interval Research was an early, ground-breaking contributor to the development of the internet economy," said David Postman, a spokesman for Allen, in a statement. "Interval has worked hard to bring its technologies to market through spinning off new companies, technology transfer arrangements, and sales of its patented technology."
The statement says that the patents are "fundamental to the ways that leading e-commerce and search companies operate today."
"This lawsuit is necessary to protect our investment in innovation," Postman added. "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."
Interval says that it helped fund Sergey Brin's and Larry Page's research that resulted in Google.