updated 02:55 pm EDT, Fri August 27, 2010
Interval says Apple, Google, Netflix tread patents
Interval Licensing today hoped to profit off the back of technology and retail companies today as it sued several top firms. for alleged patent infringement. It claimed that AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and YouTube specifically for purportedly infringing on four patents for "fundamental" web technology used for online commerce and search. The patents touch on a form of browsing as well as means of generating attention through design or through a notification system.
The court case, filed in the Western District of Washington, hasn't yet been posted online. Details such as damages haven't been mentioned, but Interval is likely to seek a ban on using its technology unless it can reach a settlement out of court.
Interval hoped to wield its history as an influence in the case. The company is the spinoff of Interval Research, which was created by Microsoft co-creator Paul Allen in 1992 to help spur on the web. It reportedly helped fund the early research from Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Interval Licensing, however, currently fits the definition of a patent troll as it doesn't actively produce any content of its own and instead relies on lawsuits and royalty deals for business.
None of the involved companies, or Allen himself, have commented on the lawsuit. Apple and others often typically avoid statements for ongoing cases.