Microsoft founder renews lawsuit over web data patents
MICROSOFT co-founder Paul Allen relaunched a patent lawsuit against Apple, Google, Facebook and others with specific allegations that they are illegally using technology owned by his company.
Interval Licensing, a small research company set up by Allen in 1992, originally filed a broad patent suit in US federal court in Seattle in August, but Judge Marsha Pechman dismissed it on the grounds that it did not specify any actual products or devices.
The revised suit was filed by Interval on Tuesday. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, claims Interval was central to research and development of technology in the internet arena in the 1990s, amassing more than 300 patents and providing research assistance to Google.
Allen's company claims four of its patents -- chiefly related to the way web data is sorted and presented -- have been infringed by a number of successful companies.
The lawsuit makes no mention of Microsoft as a patent holder or infringer, even though Allen's former company offers products similar to some described in it. Allen (57) is the world's 37th richest person, according to Forbes magazine. He resigned as a Microsoft executive in 1983.
He has funded scientific and medical research through his Paul G Allen Family Foundation and invested in projects in his native Seattle. (Reuters)