In a lawsuit filed by Interval Research, the company is claiming ownership rights to patents corresponding to internet search and innovation.
Paul Allen is co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates and was its executive officer until 1983. In 1992, he co-founded Interval Research whose main activity was to develop communications and computer technology. More than 110 engineers and scientists were employed with the company which filed patents on new devlopments.
Interval Licensing owns the patents. The company is seeking compensation from 11 companies including Google and Apple accusing them of infringing on its patent rights. Other companies that have been named in the lawsuit are AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples and Yahoo.
Interval Licensing is also seeking to block further use of its patented technology.
Google, Facebook and eBay said they would fight the allegations by Interval in court whereas, Apple, AOL, Office Depot, Netflix and OfficeMax declined to comment.
“This lawsuit against some of America’s most innovative companies reflects an unfortunate trend of people trying to compete in the courtroom instead of the marketplace,” Google spokesperson Aaron Zamost said.
However, products or services offered by the companies named in the lawsuit will not be stopped immediately because of market vulnerabilities. Lawsuits involving patents generally take months or years to be disposed of. More often a settlement regarding patent use and royalty payments are reached.