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Interval re-files lawsuit against Apple, Facebook, Google

updated 09:15 pm EST, Tue December 28, 2010

Interval resubmits dismissed lawsuit

Interval Licensing took a second shot at its dismissed lawsuit with an updated filing. The Paul Allen-owned company's new complaint still accuses Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix and others of infringing on e-commerce patents but now includes specific, claimed examples of how the companies allegedly copied Interval's technology. In Apple's case, Interval cited the iTunes Store's album purchasing view (pictured) as a primary example.

Most of the disputes center around automatic discovery features such as showing related content. Online stores almost always have such features today, and iTunes is heavily based around the concept both through its regular list of what others bought but also for features like the Genius. Google's YouTube has virtually no commerce aside from an independent movie rental section, but it regularly shows related videos whenever possible.

Even with the lawsuit, Stanford Professor Mark Lemley and others have characterized Interval's lawsuit as a last major gamble rather than a sincere claim. Interval Licensing is the offshoot of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's failed Interval Research, whose closure in 2000 was blamed in part on an inability to produce a real, commercial product. Its current behavior has largely mimicked that of a patent troll, which has no uses for its own patents other than to sue other companies hoping for royalties or settlements.

If successful, the lawsuit could win hundreds of millions of dollars, but the existence of prior art is a possibility and could have the lawsuit dismissed a second time. [via Seattle Times]

By Electronista Staff


  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005


    Troll, Troll, Troll Your Boat ...

    Roughly up the stream,
    Wearily, wearily, wearily,
    Some cash is but a dream.

  1. Sebastien

    Registered User

    Joined: Apr 2000


    Answer me this, Interval Licensing...

    If all these other companies came up with the same type of ideas, wouldn't your patent fail the 'non-obvious' test.

    That's right, you're just a troll.

    Not surprised, given that it's a MS-owned company.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Answer me this, Interval Licensing...

    If all these other companies came up with the same type of ideas, wouldn't your patent fail the 'non-obvious' test.

    Um, who says they all came up with the same type of idea? They could just as easily stole their idea from the patent library. Seems obvious to me.

    And it doesn't matter if 5 people come up with the same 'idea'. That's the whole point of patents. Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray 'raced' to patent the telephone. On your theory, it should have become public domain because, well, two people had the same idea. So it must be 'obvious'.

    Not surprised, given that it's a MS-owned company.

    It's not an MS owned company. Paul Allen doesn't even work for MS anymore.

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