Paul Allen, one of the co-founders of Microsoft, has filed a patent action against several of the biggest names in the technology industry.
Allen's investment company, Interval Licensing, is suing Google, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, AOL, Yahoo and YouTube among others for infringement on key technology patents. Microsoft is conspicuously not on the list filed in the court action.
"These acts of infringement have caused damage to Interval, and Interval is entitled to recover from defendants the damages sustained by Interval as a result of defendants' wrongful acts in an amount subject to proof at trial," the complaint reads.
The legal case hinges around four specific patents, issued from 2000 onwards. They include patent No. 6,263,507 for Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, patent No. 6,034,652 for Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device, patent No. 6,788,314 for Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device, and patent No. 6,757,682 for Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest.
The patent claims are broad, but analysts say that this is a serious case and while a number of companies have been targeted, there is one in particular that is in Allen's sights.
"Allen isn't a patent troll but Google is clearly the target here," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told Technology news and analysis website v3.co.uk.
"He's defending specific intellectual property. It's not like he needs the money. He's one of the richest men in the world."
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