Looks like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is the latest patent troll, as he's going after after eleven major Internet firms, asserting that they are infringing on his intellectual property. The technology named in the suit was patented nearly a decade ago by Interval Licensing LLC, a Palo Alto, Calif., lab and technology incubator Allen financed with about $100 million during the dot com bubble.
The patents describe basic ideas that are used by countless of Internet websites, such as technology for showing content related to what a user is currently viewing, a way to allow readers to quickly locate stories related to a particular subject, and techniques to enable ads, stock quotes, news updates and video to flash on a computer screen, peripherally to a user's main activity.
Named in Mr. Allen's suit, along with Apple and Google, are AOL Inc., eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc., Office Depot Inc., OfficeMax Inc., Staples Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Google's YouTube subsidiary. Notably missing from the defendants' list are Microsoft, in which Mr. Allen remains a major investor, and Amazon.com Inc., which is based in Mr. Allen's hometown of Seattle. Mr. Postman declined to comment on the selection of defendants.