Microsoft Co-founder Hits Apple, Others with Patent Suit

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen hit several companies, including Apple, with a patent lawsuit on Friday. The lawsuit alleges the companies are infringing on a set of patents that cover “the ways that leading e-commerce and search companies operate today,” according to TechFlash.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Interval Research Corporation, a company that Mr. Allen co-founded in 1992 with David Liddle, by Interval Licensing. Interval Research closed its doors in 2000, but its patents are apparently still alive and kicking, and under the watchful care of Mr. Allen’s Interval Licensing.

Along with Apple, Google, Facebook, Office Depot, OfficeMax, staples, Yahoo, YouTube, Netflix and eBay are all named in the case. Microsoft and Amazon, both big names in the tech world, were left out of the lawsuit.

The patents describe “a browser for use in navigating a body of information, with particular application to browsing information represented by audiovisual data,” an “attention manager for occupying the peripheral attention of a person in the vicinity of a display device,” and a system for “alerting users to items of current interest.”

Interval Licensing is seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit.