Microsoft cofounder drops patent bomb on Apple, Google, Facebook

Paul AllenPaul Allen, entrepreneur and cofounder of Microsoft, has filed a lawsuit against 11 companies for infringements on his Web search patents. Announced on Friday afternoon, the suit names Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, and Microsoft partner Yahoo as defendants for violating four Interval Licensing LLC patents, though the court will likely have to weigh whether the patents in question are "obvious" or not.

The patents revolve around three main concepts: browser use for navigating through information, managing a user's peripheral attention while using a device, and alerting users to items of current interest. They collectively address the general concept of presenting searched-for information to a user along with related news articles, media (such as music or videos), status updates from friends, or data (such as stock or weather info).

Needless to say, numerous Internet companies make use of such concepts, including, of course, Microsoft. However, Microsoft has managed to escape Allen's ire for the time being, while the 11 other companies seem to share the oddly coincidental characteristic of being wildly popular with the public. In its announcement, Interval has declared itself a "ground-breaking contributor to the development of the internet economy" and says all it wants to do is "protect [its] investment in innovation."

It's hard not to see the lawsuit as a patent troll—especially given the fact that Interval doesn't actually produce any products and the word "licensing" is right in the company's name. Still, Allen and his spokesperson David Postman clearly believe that they are defending a concept that is not practically universal among search engines and web browsers, but rather something that would not exist at all had Interval not come up with it.

"We are not asserting patents that other companies have filed, nor are we buying patents originally assigned to someone else," Postman said in a statement. "These are patents developed by and for Interval."

A Google spokesperson responded to the lawsuit by saying that it uses the patent system to work against innovation, not for it. "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," the spokesperson said. "Innovation—not litigation—is the way to bring to market the kinds of products and services that benefit millions of people around the world." (Apple did not respond to our request for comment by publication time.)

Some of the defendants, such as Apple and Google, have gone on record in support of serious patent reform in the US, though such reform is still a ways away. Courts have increasingly put patents through the "obviousness test" in recent years when deciding patent cases, too, which will undoubtedly come into play if this lawsuit doesn't end in a settlement.

Source: ars technica

Tags: Microsoft

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Galaxy Note10 really is built around a 6.7-inch display
You may still be able to download your content
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are all going away
Minimize apps to a floating, always-on-top bubble
Japan Display has been providing LCDs for the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 line-up
The 2001 operating system has reached its lowest share level
The entire TSMC 5nm design infrastructure is available now from TSMC
The smartphone uses a Snapdragon 660 processor running Android 9 Pie
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 / 2
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (15)