Paul Allen Sues Apple, Google, Others For Patent Infringement

Interval Licensing LLC, which holds the patents of Interval Research, a company founded by Allen and David Liddle in 1992, alleges that AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube infringed on patents covering “fundamental Web technologies” that Inverval first developed in the 1990s.

The patents are entitled "Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data,” "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest,” and two patents entitled "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device.”

Interval research was an “early, ground-breaking contributor to the development of the Internet economy,” said David Postman, 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 complaint, believed to be filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington state, alleges 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 said. "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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At its height, research lab Interval employed more than 100 scientists, physicists and engineers and helped fund projects including research by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page that resulted in the development of Google, according to the statement.