If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right. Apparently that is a lesson that Paul Allen believes in. In what may be one of the more inclusive lawsuits of recent memory, Allen has decided to sue pretty much everybody. In the world. Or at least everybody on the Internet that is using what he sees as technology that was patented by his now-defunct company, Interval Research, and that is almost everyone.
The suit specifically stems from four patents that make up the building blocks of online commerce, and are seen in almost every form of news-based website. According to the lawsuit obtained by Wired, one of the patents deals with the technology that allows companies to include recommendations to customers based on what they are looking at. A second patent covers similar technology for news stories that recommends and links stories based on the one readers are currently reading.
Almost every website now uses something similar. If you scroll down past this article you will see other stories listed under “related posts” (wait…please don’t sue us, Mr. Allen!). Two other patents relate to showing info on a Web page, including news and stock quotes.
The full list of defendants are: Aol, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, Officemax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube.
You might notice both Microsoft and Amazon missed the exclusive defendants list. Obviously Allen’s ties with Microsoft still run deep, and Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle are located in buildings owned by Allen.
One thing is for sure: Right now there are some extremely excited lawyers now on the clock. Perhaps the defendants will combine their resources and form one Voltron-like lawyer.
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