Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen sues Apple over patents

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    Is any counting the number of these that have been filed since Jan. 1, 2010??



    At least it's not in East Texas. \
  • Reply 2 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?
  • Reply 3 of 55
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 55
    He probably ran out of money, thus he needs more. Here we are today.
  • Reply 5 of 55
    rhyderhyde Posts: 294member
    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!"
  • Reply 6 of 55
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    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?
  • Reply 7 of 55
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    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.
  • Reply 8 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!?
  • Reply 9 of 55
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 55
    jdsonicejdsonice Posts: 156member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 55
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member
    Wouldn't a successful outcome for the plaintiff pretty much shut down Google's search ads?
  • Reply 12 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!



  • Reply 13 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.
  • Reply 14 of 55
    pdiddypdiddy Posts: 27member
    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.
  • Reply 15 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.
  • Reply 16 of 55
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,191member
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 55
    desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    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
  • Reply 18 of 55
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    He needs money to go Yankees on his Seattle Seahawks and buy himself a Super Bowl..



    Best team money can buy.
  • Reply 19 of 55
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,191member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 55
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    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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