Microsoft co-founder relaunches suit against Apple, others | iLounge News


Microsoft co-founder relaunches suit against Apple, others

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s company Interval Research Corp. has filed an expanded version of its lawsuit against Apple, Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and Google’s YouTube subsidiary, providing more details in its attempt to prove patent infringement. Originally filed in August, the suit was dismissed by a federal judge in Seattle earlier this month for being too vague. The patents in question cover automatic suggestions for shopping sites, automatic location of related stories on a news site, and the presentation of information such as ads, stock quotes, news updates, or videos on a computer screen, in the periphery of the user’s main activity. The amended complaint includes more details of how the companies supposedly infringed, along with 40 exhibits, which according to the Seattle Times are largely screenshots of websites and services with specific areas highlighted. The exhibit submitted to illustrate Apple’s violations includes the top portion of an iTunes Store album listing, including the track listing and preview buttons, the buy button, a top songs and albums section for the artist, and recommendations based on what listeners of that album have purchased.

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IANAL, and I have no idea how valid this suit is in terms of existing patent law, but the very idea that one can patent the location of buttons, images, and text on a screen is just mind-blowingly stupid.

Posted by didymos! on December 29, 2010 at 1:56 PM (CST)


Strange that Amazon’s not named. Are they payuing some sort of license fee to Internval Research Corp?

Posted by orgel on December 29, 2010 at 2:57 PM (CST)


@1: Yep, our patent laws have become increasingly outdated. Technology moves far too fast for existing patent laws. There is a point where saying, “Hey, wouldn’t it be amazing if there were some automated process that could look at what you were buying and automatically make intelligent suggestions about something else you would probably want to buy?” is actually a great and original idea, and then about two years later comes the time that having that idea is like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be amazing if houses had roofs on them?”.

Copyright and Patent laws were, more than anything, designed to promote ingenuity by allowing a reasonable period - based on the pace of technology hundreds of years ago - for the inventor to profit from their creation/idea and then, after that reasonable period, turn these creations and ideas over to the public domain. The reasonable period for positioning a buy button is what, six months?

Posted by Code Monkey on December 29, 2010 at 10:43 PM (CST)

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