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Paul Allen Has Monster Lawsuit Dismissed

By - Source: Apple Insider | B 24 comments

Back in August, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen filed a suit against a fistful of the biggest names in the tech industry, including Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Yahoo.

Back in August, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen filed a suit against a fistful of the biggest names in the tech industry, including Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Yahoo.

Allen accused the tech giants of infringing upon patents owned by a company he had founded in 1992. Dissolved in the year 2000, Interval Research focused on the Internet and consumer technology applications. Allen's suit accused 11 companies of infringing upon Interval Research-owned patents that covered internet searching and e-commerce.

A month or so after the August filing of Allen's lawsuit, Google and several others listed in the lawsuit asked that it be dismissed on the grounds that it was not detailed enough.

"Interval is not entitled to waste Court and party resources with a scattershot Complaint against multiple Defendants that fails to give any indication as to which products or services Interval contends are infringing and the factual basis for such a claim," Google is quoted as saying in its request.

Last Friday judge Marsha Pechman concurred and dismissed Allen's complaint. Undeterred, a spokesperson for the Microsoft co-founder described the dismissal as a "procedural issue" and told the Wall Street Journal, "The case is staying on track."

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  • 4 Hide
    hellwig , December 13, 2010 4:40 PM
    Wow, so Allen's argument was: "We own patents and these companies with big bank accounts are somehow infringing upon those patents, which I refuse to name?" The guy is worth like $20-billion, what more does he want?
  • 4 Hide
    Parrdacc , December 13, 2010 4:42 PM
    hellwigWow, so Allen's argument was: "We own patents and these companies with big bank accounts are somehow infringing upon those patents, which I refuse to name?" The guy is worth like $20-billion, what more does he want?


    and people wonder why the court system is all fouled up.
  • 8 Hide
    davewolfgang , December 13, 2010 4:52 PM
    No, the court system actually worked this time - in throwing this out.

    It's the PATENT office that's the problem in giving patents to "idea's", instead of something that's actually REAL.

    Ya know - back in the 60's some Sci-Fi writers wrote about these cool helmets that have a built in heads up display with built in radar, radios, and all that fancy stuff - should their estates sue Halo makers, Ironman movie creators, and all the other modern games and movies that have used that same IDEA? You patent an actual ITEM - not an idea. /offsoapbox
  • 2 Hide
    makaveli316 , December 13, 2010 4:54 PM
    This guy is filthy rich, he must be sued for greed.
    Some people need to be slapped, punched in the head repeatedly or else, so they can eventually wake up and see the shitty person they are.
  • 2 Hide
    jerreece , December 13, 2010 5:05 PM
    Personally, the Judge should have thrown this out on the basis that "Interval" the "owner" of said patents no longer exists.
  • 0 Hide
    COLGeek , December 13, 2010 5:13 PM
    While I applaud the judge for doing the right thing because it is really hard to try a case when, in this case, the actual patents haven't been identified, I am sure we will see this nonsense again.

    This is similar to the old SCO Unix suit a few years ago. It took forever (and a day) to finally go away.

    Riches through litigation have become a popular way to make money. Often companies will pay some lesser amount than the amount being claimed just to avoid the hassle (and bad press) of going to court. Sometimes this method (unfortunately) actually works. That is not the case here.
  • 3 Hide
    iamtheking123 , December 13, 2010 5:17 PM
    "The case is staying on track."

    How can you lose and still be on track?
  • 0 Hide
    hang-the-9 , December 13, 2010 5:22 PM
    Parrdaccand people wonder why the court system is all fouled up.

    hellwigWow, so Allen's argument was: "We own patents and these companies with big bank accounts are somehow infringing upon those patents, which I refuse to name?" The guy is worth like $20-billion, what more does he want?


    I don't think the fact that he has lots of money matters much if something is taken from you. If I have 3 cars and one is stolen, I'm going to file a stolen car report anyway.
  • 2 Hide
    JDFan , December 13, 2010 5:43 PM
    iamtheking123"The case is staying on track."How can you lose and still be on track?


    He didn't lose -- the case was dismissed for not being specific enough - so He'll go back and add more detail including what patents are being infringed upon by what company and refile and the process keeps going !
  • 2 Hide
    jalek , December 13, 2010 5:48 PM
    -- 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."

    Where I a judge, I'm not sure I'd want to sit through the monstrosity he filed initially, the judge just wants it in smaller pieces.

    I mean if you look up the first one,
    Quote:
    enabling the body of information to be quickly reviewed to obtain an overview of the content of the body of information and allowing flexibility in the manner in which the body of information is reviewed.
    could be anything from putting things into a table of contents to separating content from the display "manner" or structure, which is web 2.0. We have no information on how ambitious he wants to be.
  • 1 Hide
    Yoder54 , December 13, 2010 5:55 PM
    How can you sue over ideas? Ideas like "Alerting users to items of current interest." This is ludicrous, and is one reason why the courts are getting backed-up with all of these technological law suits. If it is a specific hardware device or snippet of code, then that is one thing...but an idea?

    These idea lawsuits will go the way of patenting natures bacteria for medical purposes... extinction.
  • 0 Hide
    JDFan , December 13, 2010 6:02 PM
    Quote:
    How can you sue over ideas? Ideas like "Alerting users to items of current interest." This is ludicrous, and is one reason why the courts are getting backed-up with all of these technological law suits. If it is a specific hardware device or snippet of code, then that is one thing...but an idea?

    These idea lawsuits will go the way of patenting natures bacteria for medical purposes... extinction.


    Perhaps but in the process several Lawyers will make a living off of them for many years while the stock holders and taxpayers foot the bill !
  • 0 Hide
    davewolfgang , December 13, 2010 6:04 PM
    Quote:
    -- 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."



    You mean some dufuss at the patent office actually APPROVED those?!?!??!??!?!?!

    Gubment run a-muck by idjuts.
  • 0 Hide
    freiheitner , December 13, 2010 6:08 PM
    U.S. Patent No. 6,757,682, for "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest." -- on the surface would seem to be infringed by every TV news program, stock market tickers, medical equipment and about five dozen other things in regular use everywhere.
  • 0 Hide
    freiheitner , December 13, 2010 6:08 PM
    "How can you lose and still be on track?"

    Appeals Court
  • 0 Hide
    jalek , December 13, 2010 7:26 PM
    Quote:
    U.S. Patent No. 6,757,682, for "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest." -- on the surface would seem to be infringed by every TV news program, stock market tickers, medical equipment and about five dozen other things in regular use everywhere.


    That's the upside potential. The only downside possibility are court and attorney fees, which he's apparently willing to gamble, or he's found attorneys willing to gamble on a percentage of any settlements.
    It's like the lottery, only using the courts.
  • 0 Hide
    iamtheking123 , December 13, 2010 9:04 PM
    Yoder54How can you sue over ideas? Ideas like "Alerting users to items of current interest." This is ludicrous, and is one reason why the courts are getting backed-up with all of these technological law suits. If it is a specific hardware device or snippet of code, then that is one thing...but an idea? These idea lawsuits will go the way of patenting natures bacteria for medical purposes... extinction.


    I read a bit of actual patent...it's ridiculous that it got a patent. Essentially Thunderbird's bold-texting of unread emails is infringement of it. Text message alerts would also be infringement. You can tell from the language of the patent that it was written in the early 90s though where they were using scattershot to try to patent as much technology as possible, so it's probably going to get thrown out as being far too vague.
  • 0 Hide
    jsc , December 13, 2010 11:08 PM
    Well, let's see. Based on the original Foundation Trilogy (early '50's), Isaac Asimov's estate could sue on patent infringements of the ideas for:
    microwave ovens, pocket calculators, and laser cutting implements.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , December 13, 2010 11:27 PM
    davewolfgangNo, the court system actually worked this time - in throwing this out. It's the PATENT office that's the problem in giving patents to "idea's", instead of something that's actually REAL. Ya know - back in the 60's some Sci-Fi writers wrote about these cool helmets that have a built in heads up display with built in radar, radios, and all that fancy stuff - should their estates sue Halo makers, Ironman movie creators, and all the other modern games and movies that have used that same IDEA? You patent an actual ITEM - not an idea. /offsoapbox



    yes and no

    if you have an idea but are unable to make it due to cost or whatever, if you have a fairly detailed plan, as in if you got the parts, you could build it with little modification than you win.

    "should their estates sue Halo makers, Ironman movie creators, and all the other modern games and movies that have used that same IDEA"

    i have to say your idea is stupid. a patent is only for things that actually exist or could exist, not someone made it in a game, thats where copyright and trade mark comes into play.
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , December 14, 2010 1:11 AM
    Maybe if Paul Allen focus one patent say - U.S. Patent No. 6,757,682, for "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest". Then specify what particular devices, application, etc. a company like google violates his patents - I think that should work.
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