Whatever his faults, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen is at least persistent and ambitious. Allen proved this yesterday by refiling a patent infringement lawsuit against AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube.
Allen first sued these companies in late August, claiming they’d violated four patents generated by another firm (Interval Licensing) he’d cofounded. A judge threw out the suit because it wasn’t specific enough.
Now Allen’s resurfaced with a 35-page amended complaint (provided courtesy of Brier Dudley). The four patents still cover "Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data," "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device," and "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest."
As for what products and services allegedly violate Allen’s patents, they include AdSense, Android, the Facebook News Feed, Flickr, Gmail, iTunes, Yahoo Finance, and a whole lot of other stuff.
Allen’s seeking unspecified damages, interest, and enough money to cover his legal costs as a result. Plus – and this is important – he wants either a permanent injunction to prevent further infringement or royalties.
If Allen manages to win the lawsuit (and doesn’t lose following the inevitable series of appeals), this will turn out to be a major case. Most onlookers agree that the odds are more than stacked against him, however.