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.