Paul Allen Sues Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo

By: Michael Stevens
Staff Writer
Published: Aug 27, 2021

Paul Allen sues Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and other companies for patent infringement.

Paul Allen sues Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo. Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, sues Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and seven other companies. Allen charges Apple and others with infringing patents filed about a decade ago.

Apple, Google and Facebook blasted the lawsuit as "unfortunate" and "without merit." The complaint, filed Friday morning in a Seattle federal court, named AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and Google's YouTube. AOL, Apple, Google and Yahoo were each charged with four claims of patent infringement, while Facebook was hit with one.

The other eight companies were charged with two claims each. The suit does not name Microsoft, which Allen co-founded with Bill Gates in 1975 but left in 1983 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Microsoft did not reply to a request asking whether it had licensed some or all of the applicable patents from Allen's firm.

Allen claims that the 11 companies violated patents developed by Internal Research, a Silicon Valley research lab he funded in 1992, but had closed in 2000. David Liddle, who worked at the Xerox's influential Palo Alto Research Center ( Xerox PARC) in the 1970s, was Interval's CEO.

Those patents were later transferred to Interval Licensing, a company owned by Allen. The two patents that make up the bulk of the claims are 6,263,507, "Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data," and 6,757,682, "Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest." Allen's lawsuit alleges that all but Facebook violated the '507 patent, and all 11 companies infringed the '682 patent.