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Paul Allen reloads patent attack against tech titans

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has hit refresh on his attempt to bring a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, Google, Facebook and other tech outfits.

Earlier this month a US District Court judge rejected a far-reaching complaint brought by Interval Licensing LLC – the patent arm of Interval Research – against Google’s YouTube, Apple, Facebook, eBay, Netflix, AOL, Yahoo!, Office Depot, OfficeMax and Staples in August this year.

Billionaire Allen had claimed ownership of four patents covering e-commerce and online search functions that have been staples of most websites for years. The filing was made on behalf of Interval Licensing, which is the Silicon Valley technology incubator that Allen bankrolled in 1992.

At the time, the court told Interval Licensing that it has until 28 December to file an amended complaint.

As reported by the Seattle Times, which has a copy of the complaint here, Allen got in just under the wire with a beefed up version of the original lawsuit.

Open source advocate Florian Mueller pointed out some meaty aspects of the suit on his blog.

"Should Google be served an injunction as a result of Interval's suit, owners of Android phones (a group that includes me, by the way) would experience a very significant degradation of the user experience. Android's usability is generally under threat now because Apple already asserts various user interface (particularly multi-touch) patents against HTC and Motorola, and in its latest claims against Motorola, Microsoft also asserted a couple of touchscreen patents," he said.

"As I just mentioned Apple, it's also among the defendants named by Interval Licensing, but the infringement assertions don't target the iOS operating system. They relate to content recommendations provided to users by iTunes, the App Store, and Apple TV." ®

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