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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen sues Apple over patents

post #1 of 55
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Multi-billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has sued Apple, Google, and a number of other companies which he claims infringe on patents he owns related to online recommendation algorithms.

Apple and Google are among 11 companies named in the suit, accused by Allen of using technology developed a decade ago in his now-defunct Silicon Valley laboratory Interval Research Corp., according to The Wall Street Journal. The complaint was filed on Friday.

Interval Research Corp was a lab and technology incubator that Allen financed with about $100 million during the dot-com bubble. Allen owns a number of patents from that venture, and he has alleged that four of them related to e-commerce and Internet search are infringed upon.

One patent offers suggestions for customers to see items related to a product they are currently viewing, while another allows a reader of a news story to find related stories about a similar subject.

"The lab worked on numerous projects, with goals to create technology to use in Mr. Allen's ventures in telecom," author Dionne Searcey wrote. "In later days it also focused on developing technology to license to others. Over the course of a decade, Interval was issued 300 patents."

"It successfully marketed some of its patent portfolio, including cellular voice processing technology and motion-detection technology used in games that allows a computer to "see" commands. It also created a 'smart' toy called 'Red Beard's Pirate Quest' and later sold the technology behind it to Lego Group."

The suit was filed by Interval Licensing LLC, which issued a press release Friday specifically naming the four patents in question:
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."
Named in the suit, along with Apple and Google, are AOL, eBay, FaceBook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and YouTube. The report noted that Microsoft, in which he is a major investor, is absent, along with Amazon.com, which is based in Allen's hometown of Seattle, Wash.
post #2 of 55
Is any counting the number of these that have been filed since Jan. 1, 2010??

At least it's not in East Texas. \
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post #3 of 55
This is what keeps lawyers filling their swimming pools with $100 bills: nuisance patent lawsuits. Seriously, was Allen ever going to ever do anything with his patent?

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post #4 of 55
Quote:
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.

Really!!!?!

The USPTO ACTUALLY granted Paul Allen patents based on "recommending similar items" really!?!?!? Every salesman in the WORLD does that every single day. It's perhaps of THE most obvious and easiest uses to get a computer to perform. Either using key-words (meta data) OR slightly more difficult having the computer identify the 'type' of story the person is reading and then find other stories with similar 'type'.

Either way.... this is done on every news related website since.... FOREVER.

When have you NOT seen a 'related stories' at the bottom of some story that you're reading. Also with the latest Twitter, Digg and Facebook enhancements they ALL do a similar thing. Is PA really gonna sue AP, News Corp, The Times, The WSJ, etc etc etc...

Boy I can't wait for the day when software patents get the KICK IN THE ASS they deserve. You can't patent a recipe, you can't patent the design of a car, you can't patent a dress and the same should go for software.... It's little more then a recipe when you think about it.
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post #5 of 55
He probably ran out of money, thus he needs more. Here we are today.
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post #6 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Really!!!?!

... you can't patent the design of a car ...

Actually, you can -- it's called a "design patent".
"There's a patent for that!"
post #7 of 55
mr allen, sir, when i went to the store this morning to buy lentil soup i also looked at a similar item -- vegetable soup.

how much do i send, and to where?
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post #8 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Boy I can't wait for the day when software patents get the KICK IN THE ASS they deserve. You can't patent a recipe, you can't patent the design of a car, you can't patent a dress and the same should go for software....

Uh, maybe you or I can't, but in principal, a car design and a dress design can be patented.
post #9 of 55
MSFT + Amazon not named in this suit... Why? Is he looking the other way, or did he grant them a license to use these patents, for a fee or for free? I'd like details on that...

Maybe this is just a PR stunt meant to inject his name into Media?

Maybe it's even AAPL stock manipulation, timed to dampen the coming Apple Event on Sept 1, 2010!

Maybe he is looking to pick up a few $$ on out of court settlements, and is using this case' legal fees as a tax deduction, while keeping his legal staff working a bit harder for their retainers:!? I am just guessing out loud...

I am pretty sure that Apple's Legal Department checks all Patents pretty carefully! Then there are loose Patent Laws that create enough of a Doubt for the law suits! It would be nice to see a reform there to prevent frivolous suits, but good luck on that!

In the end, we all pay for all those legal wars, unless the accountants write it off as business expense when all those companies file their taxes!?

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post #10 of 55
It's worth a shot right? And since MS is not using those patents why not try to make money from suing other companies that might be.
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post #11 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Multi-billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has sued Apple, Google, and a number of other companies which he claims infringe on patents he owns related to online recommendation algorithms.

][ View this article at AppleInsider.com ][/url][/c]


Oh Boy another SCO in the making.

What is it with Microsoft. They are so freaking crazy stupid idiotic morons.
post #12 of 55
Wouldn't a successful outcome for the plaintiff pretty much shut down Google's search ads?
post #13 of 55
How in the world is Amazon absent from the suit?

When I read the patent's description, the first thought to cross my mind was, "Boy, Amazon is getting some much needed pushback for the whole 1-click deal. Karma is a b***h".

Imagine my disappointment when it is explicitly mentioned that Amazon isn't on there!

post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Wouldn't a successful outcome for the plaintiff pretty much shut down Google's search ads?

Thought some thing on those lines but I think Google doesn't try to grab attention from the content.
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post #15 of 55
I'm sorry. You just can't patent a SQL query.

"Oh I'm sorry, I already patented: select ArticleName from Article where ArticleType = @Type. Now you owe me a penny every time you perform that query."

Give me a break.
post #16 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

How in the world is Amazon absent from the suit?

When I read the patent's description, the first thought to cross my mind was, "Boy, Amazon is getting some much needed pushback for the whole 1-click deal. Karma is a b***h".

Imagine my disappointment when it is explicitly mentioned that Amazon isn't on there!


Because Amazon is the largest tenant of his commercial properties in the Seattle Area? Those deals have to be worth many millions and Jeff Bezos is the type who'd move out if he thought Allen was trying to screw him.
post #17 of 55
Boy, this could be one of the largest patent lawsuits of the modern age. Sounds like there is practically no limit to the damages that could be claimed. Billions? Trillions?

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post #18 of 55
there are far worse things that have been patented and shouldn't have:
http://bit.ly/9PW3jj

sidenote, here are some crazy awesome patents:
3216423 http://bit.ly/OmGdQ
6368227 http://bit.ly/9Q3YPu
6612440 http://bit.ly/9hpQT2
post #19 of 55
He needs money to go Yankees on his Seattle Seahawks and buy himself a Super Bowl..

Best team money can buy.
post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

sidenote, here are some crazy awesome patents:
3216423 http://bit.ly/OmGdQ
6368227 http://bit.ly/9Q3YPu
6612440 http://bit.ly/9hpQT2

The first and the third "crazy awesome" patents are fine, the swing one should have been thrown out as too obvious.

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post #21 of 55
Man... If I had a nickel for every time I heard a waiter say "Might I suggest..."

Hmmm takin any best thats where Troll Paul got his 'idea'.
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post #22 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Really!!!?!

The USPTO ACTUALLY granted Paul Allen patents based on "recommending similar items" really!?!?!? Every salesman in the WORLD does that every single day. It's perhaps of THE most obvious and easiest uses to get a computer to perform. Either using key-words (meta data) OR slightly more difficult having the computer identify the 'type' of story the person is reading and then find other stories with similar 'type'.

Either way.... this is done on every news related website since.... FOREVER.

When have you NOT seen a 'related stories' at the bottom of some story that you're reading. Also with the latest Twitter, Digg and Facebook enhancements they ALL do a similar thing. Is PA really gonna sue AP, News Corp, The Times, The WSJ, etc etc etc...

Boy I can't wait for the day when software patents get the KICK IN THE ASS they deserve. You can't patent a recipe, you can't patent the design of a car, you can't patent a dress and the same should go for software.... It's little more then a recipe when you think about it.

Think of what you are saying, wouldn't that mean no licensing needed ever to use a technology? Radical!

Patenting a feature to me is silly, you can only truly copyright a software method, and even then you better have the math to back it up. Describing a method shouldn't be enough, working prototypes need to start being a must to obtain a copyright. A lot of these patents only describe a method or result based on said factors, what is that crap.

I don't think patent office is to blame here though, bad patent laws are.
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

Think of what you are saying, wouldn't that mean no licensing needed ever to use a technology? Radical!

Patenting a feature to me is silly, you can only truly copyright a software method, and even then you better have the math to back it up. Describing a method shouldn't be enough, working prototypes need to start being a must to obtain a copyright. A lot of these patents only describe a method or result based on said factors, what is that crap.

I don't think patent office is to blame here though, bad patent laws are.

I've seen that some of patent reform would include peer review, which seems like a good idea.

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post #24 of 55
Quote:
Patent number: 7348935
Filing date: May 5, 2004
Issue date: Mar 25, 2008
Application number: 10/840,670

1. A system for engaging the peripheral attention of a person in the vicinity of a display device of an apparatus, comprising: a communication device; and a content display system associated with the display device, the content display system including:

Unfortunately this patent clearly covered by prior art... Too bad and ONLY 76 years too late ... SO CLOSE! Sorry Paul lets hope the other 3 have more staying power.

Quote:
The most famous news ticker display is the "zipper" that circles One Times Square in New York City. The New York Times erected the first such display in 1928, and now several buildings in midtown Manhattan feature such a display. A similar display appears on the exterior of the Fox News/News Corporation headquarters in the west extension of Manhattan's Rockefeller Center. Another ticker, displaying the latest stock details, is also located in Times Square.

Also a TV placed in a store front window would also fit the bill...
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post #25 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

I don't think patent office is to blame here though, bad patent laws are.

They're certainly an easy target, but no... They're just following the rules as they were handed down to them. It's certainly not in their power to dismiss something indiscriminately (except for perpetual motion patents --- those are weeded out to the best of their ability)...

Why? Well you know (grabbing my tinfoil hat)... its a big government conspiracy and 'big oil' is at the heart of it all...

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post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

How in the world is Amazon absent from the suit?

When I read the patent's description, the first thought to cross my mind was, "Boy, Amazon is getting some much needed pushback for the whole 1-click deal. Karma is a b***h".

Imagine my disappointment when it is explicitly mentioned that Amazon isn't on there!


Ex-Microsoft. How come Microsoft is not being sued?
post #27 of 55
I have a proposed solution to submarine patents and patent litigation abuse:

The amount of the award should be commensurate to the patent owner's demonstrated efforts to commercialize the technology. If he just sits and waits for somebody to deploy the technology then he gets compensation but just a token amount. But if he can show that he devoted time, effort and resources into trying to commercialize the patent then he gets more and punitive damages go into effect. This would get rid of the firms who have no intention at all of commercializing the patents and whose existence is devoted solely to litigation. Those people do not contribute anything of value to society.
post #28 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by xtrmtrk View Post

Because Amazon is the largest tenant of his commercial properties in the Seattle Area? Those deals have to be worth many millions and Jeff Bezos is the type who'd move out if he thought Allen was trying to screw him.

maybe he has already licensed the technology to ms and amazon. that may be why they aren't named.
post #29 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

Think of what you are saying, wouldn't that mean no licensing needed ever to use a technology? Radical!

Patenting a feature to me is silly, you can only truly copyright a software method, and even then you better have the math to back it up. Describing a method shouldn't be enough, working prototypes need to start being a must to obtain a copyright. A lot of these patents only describe a method or result based on said factors, what is that crap.

I don't think patent office is to blame here though, bad patent laws are.

i say do away with all software patents. they are evil.
post #30 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Boy, this could be one of the largest patent lawsuits of the modern age. Sounds like there is practically no limit to the damages that could be claimed. Billions? Trillions?

I hope you're joking and don't really think he stands a snow balls chance in hell of winning this total bullshit of a lawsuit...
post #31 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

This is what keeps lawyers filling their swimming pools with $100 bills: nuisance patent lawsuits. Seriously, was Allen ever going to ever do anything with his __life__?

Fixed that for you.
post #32 of 55
Too funny from the guy behind a company that would not exist but for ripping off everything Apple ever did. I think this is a man in need of therapy.
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post #33 of 55
Was this suit filed in Texas?

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post #34 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Too funny from the guy behind a company that would not exist but for ripping off everything Apple ever did. I think this is a man in need of therapy.

funny how when its not apple doing the legal attack how attitudes change....
post #35 of 55
OK, so:

U.S. PATENT NO. 6,034,652, U.S. PATENT NO. 6,788,314:
Enables ads, stock quotes, news updates or video images to flash on a computer screen, peripherally to a user's main activity. (AOL, Apple, Google, Yahoo) (filed Mar 22, 1996)

Really? I worked on an app for a bank back in 1994/1995 that did just this - as stock quotes changed, we did real-time up/down arrows to bring attention to it. Like, you know, peripherally, so you could be looking at other things and just look when there was a change. Or "in an unobtrusive manner that does not distract a user of the apparatus from a primary interaction with the apparatus, an image or images generated from a set of content data" as the patent puts it.

I would assume there was never any filing since it would have fallen into the 'trade secrets' side of things from the bank's perspective since live updates weren't common yet, though within trading companies they more likely were and just not publicly discussed - not that the live updates were even the main purpose of the app. But... so can this patent now be dismissed? There's certainly prior art, or did it have to be public?

What a load of crap these patents are. And no, I don't think that you should be able to patent 'scroll through a list with a finger flick' either. \
post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

OK, so:

U.S. PATENT NO. 6,034,652, U.S. PATENT NO. 6,788,314:
Enables ads, stock quotes, news updates or video images to flash on a computer screen, peripherally to a user's main activity. (AOL, Apple, Google, Yahoo) (filed Mar 22, 1996)

Really? I worked on an app for a bank back in 1994/1995 that did just this - as stock quotes changed, we did real-time up/down arrows to bring attention to it. Like, you know, peripherally, so you could be looking at other things and just look when there was a change. Or "in an unobtrusive manner that does not distract a user of the apparatus from a primary interaction with the apparatus, an image or images generated from a set of content data" as the patent puts it.

I would assume there was never any filing since it would have fallen into the 'trade secrets' side of things from the bank's perspective since live updates weren't common yet, though within trading companies they more likely were and just not publicly discussed - not that the live updates were even the main purpose of the app. But... so can this patent now be dismissed? There's certainly prior art, or did it have to be public?

What a load of crap these patents are. And no, I don't think that you should be able to patent 'scroll through a list with a finger flick' either. \

You should have patented it...
post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by techno View Post

Was this suit filed in Texas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

Is any counting the number of these that have been filed since Jan. 1, 2010??

At least it's not in East Texas. \


The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Seattle.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/...sp?source=mypi
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post #38 of 55
Being a jerk is in!
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post #39 of 55
In case anyone is interested the filing can be downloaded @

http://www.jdsupra.com/post/document...3-f38d8a42521d
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post #40 of 55
ahh..the links that pop up that show my recent browsing of products or items in my locale are a result of paul allen huh?
thanks paul. maybe all of us should suit you for breach of privacy.
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