Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, has re-filed a patent lawsuit against Apple, Google, and several other major tech companies, which was originally filed back in August. This lawsuit accuses the companies of infringing patents developed by Interval Research Corp. – Allen’s now obsolete company. This time, however, Allen includes specific examples of infringement to strengthen his case, which was dismissed by a judge earlier this month for being too vague.
There are four patents which are said to have been infringed, all of which relate to online recommendations and were granted to Interval around 10 years ago. According to Mark Lemley, who specializes in intellectual property at Stanford Law School, the suit from Interval “sounds like the classic patent-troll case.” As AppleInsider describes, “patent trolls are companies that aggressively pursue patent lawsuits against other companies without using their own patents in actual products.”
Apple got together with the other defendants back in October to oppose the lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss the charges. In the motion, the Cupertino company wrote, “Interval has sued eleven major corporations and made the same bald assertions that each defendant infringes 197 claims in four patents… As the U.S. Supreme Court noted in Twombly, it is in this type of situation in which courts should use their ‘power to insist upon some specificity in pleading before allowing a potentially massive factual controversy to proceed.’”
When Allen’s case was dismissed earlier this month, he was given until Dec. 28 to file an amended complaint. In advance of his deadline, Allen has re-filed his lawsuit, this time with examples included of how the 11 companies involved infringe Interval’s patents. Apple infringes the patents with the way in which it displays albums within the iTunes Store.
The four patents that Allen’s suit accuses Apple and others of infringing are as follows:
- United States Patent No. 6,263,507 issued for an invention entitled “Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data.”
- United States Patent No. 6,034,652 issued for an invention entitled “Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device.”
- United States Patent No. 6,788,314 issued for an invention entitled “Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device.”
- United States Patent No. 6,757,682 issued for an invention entitled “Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest.”