The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Paul Allen’s patent licensing company, Interval Licensing, has sued ten companies over patent infringement in the areas of e-commerce and web search technologies. One of the ten companies is Apple. What makes this story really noteworthy? After all, Apple comes under fire with patent lawsuits all of the […]
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Turns Out That Paul Allen is a Patent Troll

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Paul Allen’s patent licensing company, Interval Licensing, has sued ten companies over patent infringement in the areas of e-commerce and web search technologies. One of the ten companies is Apple. What makes this story really noteworthy? After all, Apple comes under fire with patent lawsuits all of the time. Well, as many of you may know, Paul Allen was a co-founder of Microsoft.

Mr. Allen, 57, Friday through his firm Interval Licensing LLC filed suit in federal court in Seattle asserting the companies are using technology from his laboratory. Named in the suit, along with Apple and Google, are AOL Inc., eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc., Office Depot Inc., OfficeMax Inc., Staples Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Google’s YouTube subsidiary.

The suit doesn’t name Microsoft, Amazon.com Inc. or other technology firms in Seattle where Mr. Allen is based. The suit doesn’t estimate a damage amount.

Interval Licensing has publicly released the list of patents they feel are being violated. If you are so inclined, you can read the list here.

Notice how Allen did not sue Amazon or Microsoft, both of which are Seattle based, and both of which I’d wager are also violating the patents Interval Licensing holds. Perhaps not, but I’ll eat my hat if they aren’t.

Allen isn’t the only high profile person from Microsoft to sue over patents for the sake of suing. Nathan Myhrvold has been just that for a lot longer than Allen.

In the long run, most of these companies on the list, including Apple, will shake this suit off like a bee sting. All of this boils down to be a extortion scheme. But it’s legal!

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