Microsoft Co-Founder Sues Tech Industry

Paul Allen targets Apple, Google, Yahoo
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2010 2:24 PM CDT
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen arrives at the annual Allen and Co.'s media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho in this July 13, 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)

(Newser) – Paul Allen’s licensing company is suing a who’s who of the biggest forces in tech—including Apple, Google, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Yahoo, and Aol—over a handful of patents filed by a now-defunct startup he funded during the Internet bubble. The four patents in question seem to encompass technology that is integral to pretty much any e-commerce site or search engine, the Wall Street Journal reports.

One patent covers technologies that recommend items to consumers based on what they’re currently viewing; another allows readers of a news story to quickly locate similar stories related to the same topic. The others enable ads to appear on the side of a screen next to a story. The technologies were all developed over a decade ago by Interval Research Corp. Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, didn’t personally invent any of them, but he owns the patents.

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