The Wall Street Journal reported on December 13, 2010 that U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle dismissed Paul Allen's patent lawsuit against many of the leading companies in Silicon Valley including Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo. Judge Pechman dismissed the complaint for not describing its allegations specifically enough. Paul Allen has until December 28 to amend the complaint.
This case was front page news in all of the major newspapers when these patent infringement suits were filed on August 28, 2010. What do we know about the four patents in these suits?
Interval Research Corporation and Vulcan Patents
These patents came out of the Interval Research Corporation, a Palo Alto think tank founded in 1992 by Paul Allen and David Liddle. IRC, which closed active operations in 2000, focused on broadband applications and technologies.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Interval Research was issued "about 300 patents" during its existence. A quick search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office databases shows 131 U.S. patents originally issued in the name of Interval Research. Current ownership records show that many of these are now owned by Vulcan Patents LLC.
The 4 U.S. patents in these lawsuits are:
|6034652||Attention manager for occupying the peripheral attention of a person in the vicinity of a display device|
|6263507||Browser for use in navigating a body of information, with particular application to browsing information represented by audiovisual data|
|6757682||Alerting users to items of current interest|
|6788314||Attention manager for occupying the peripheral attention of a person in the vicinity of a display device|
Patent Landscape Map of Lawsuit Patents
This Patent Interconnection Map shows the 4 U.S. Patents that Paul Allen alleges are infringed.
The large "fan" at the top of the map is U.S. 6,263,507 "Browser for use in navigating a body of information, with particular application to browsing information represented by audiovisual data".
The alleged infringers include: AOL, Apple, eBay, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and YouTube.
The next "fan" is the '652 patent, followed by the '314 patent. The small fan at the bottom is the '682 patent.
IPVision Patent Family Map of Lawsuit Patents
This is an IPVision Patent Family Map showing the 4 patents in the Paul Allen lawsuits (shaded in yellow) and their associated U.S. "patent family members" in the top portion of the map. Click on the Map Image to view the Interactive Map online.
Lawyers defending against these suits will want to investigate the patent prosecution history of these patents.
The foreign patents relating to the 4 U.S. patents (source = INPADOC) are shown toward the bottom of the map.