December 13, 2010

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

Paul Allen suit dismissed as judge found no specifics to the patents, just generalities. e.g. "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest" was one of the patents. Or "browser for use in navigating information represented by audiovisual data".

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

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

By Gregg Keizer
December 13, 2010 06:01 AM ETComments (3)Recommended (8)
Computerworld - 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.

"Plaintiff only indicates that Defendants have Web sites, hardware, and software that infringe on the patents or that they are encouraging third parties to use products that infringe on the patents," she said in her Friday order. "These allegations are insufficient to put Defendants on 'notice as to what [they] must defend.'"

Allen can file an amended complaint by Dec. 28, but must spell out in detail how the 11 defendants have infringed on Interval's patents.

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Posted by staff at December 13, 2010 07:28 AM