Judge dismisses Paul Allen's patent suit against Apple Google, others

Tosses Microsoft co-founder's case because 11 companies 'left to guess' what they did wrong

By , Computerworld |  Legal, internal research, patents

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a patent infringement lawsuit filed by billionaire MIcrosoft co-founder Paul Allen against Apple, Facebook, Google, YouTube, and seven other companies three months ago.

"Plaintiff has failed to identify the infringing products or devices with any specificity," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman in her order to dismiss. "The Court and Defendants are left to guess what devices infringe on the four patents."

Allen's lawsuit claimed that 11 companies -- AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and YouTube -- violated four patents developed by Internal Research, a Silicon Valley research lab he funded in 1992.

The lab shut its doors in 2000, but later transferred the patents to Interval Licensing, a patent-holding company also owned by Allen.

The two patents that made up the bulk of the claims were 6,263,507 , " Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data," and 6,757,682 , "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest." Allen's lawsuit alleges that all but Facebook violated the '507 patent, and all 11 companies infringed the '682 patent.

AOL, Apple, Google and Yahoo were the only companies said to have allegedly violated all four patents.

In late October, Google and Yahoo asked Pechman to dismiss the charges , arguing that Allen's lawsuit was thin on specifics.

"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 asserted in its motion.

Apple, Facebook and the other defendants filed similar motions for dismissal.

Pechman agreed.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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