MSFT Founder Sues Google, Apple, eBay, YouTube

The name Interval Research may not mean anything to you. Don't worry, it didn't mean much to most people until Friday afternoon, as it's been defunct for 10 years. IR was started by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and David Liddle, the man responsible for developing the Xerox Star computer system in the early '90s. Founded in 1992, it focused on the Internet and consumer technology applications. Though the company was dissolved in April of 2000, it has filed suit against no more than 11 major tech companies, including Google, Yahoo! and Apple.

The suit, filed Friday in Western District of Washington, accuses AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube of violating Interval Research Patents relating to multimedia, databases and screen activity.

The specific patents covered by the lawsuit are listed below:

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,263,507, for "Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data."

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,034,652, for "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device."

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,788,314, for "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device."

-- U.S. Patent No. 6,757,682, for "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest."

IDG reports that a representative for Google has criticized the suit, declaring, "Innovation not litigation."

"This lawsuit against some of America's most innovative companies reflects an unfortunate trend of people trying to compete in the courtroom instead of the marketplace. Innovation -- not litigation -- is the way to bring to market the kinds of products and services that benefit millions of people around the world," a spokesperson for the search giant said.

Read the full story on Reuters.

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    Top Comments
  • COLGeek
    I really hope they choke on this litigation. Too bad you can sue anyone for anything these days.
    22
  • dalethepcman
    I should make a boatload of vauge patents about using (insert application category) on cell phones then wait 10 years and file suit against everyone in the world. Sooner or later the court system will realize the patent system is fudged, but onyl after the lawyers finish destroying everything it was supposed to stand for.
    20
  • processthis
    Patents: The new way to invest for retirement.
    18
  • Other Comments
  • COLGeek
    I really hope they choke on this litigation. Too bad you can sue anyone for anything these days.
    22
  • hamthony
    Paul can suck it, suck it, and suck it some more.
    17
  • stratplaya
    Oh Paul, We don't hear from you for decades, then you should up with this?
    For shame.
    17