SAN JOSE, Calif. - Interval Licensing LLC, which is backed by Paul Allen, has filed a complaint against AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington state, claims the companies have infringed on four patents held by Interval. Microsoft, which was co-founded by Allen, was reportedly not named in the suit.
''These patents are fundamental to the ways that leading e-commerce and search companies operate today,'' according to the firm. Interval Licensing holds patents of Interval Research, reportedly a now-defunct firm founded by Allen and David Liddle in 1992 ''to perform advanced research and development in the areas of information systems, communications, and computer science.''
Interval Research was founded by Allen, the Microsoft co-founder, and Liddle, who developed fundamental technologies in the 1970s when he worked at Xerox PARC. Interval was a technology firm, employing over 110 scientists, physicists and engineers.
The patents Interval is asserting include the following:
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."