AfterDawn: Tech news

Judge tells Paul Allen's lawyers to be more specific in patent suit

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 13 Dec 2010 11:40 User comments (5)

Judge tells Paul Allen's lawyers to be more specific in patent suit Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's lawsuit against 11 companies over alleged patent violations has stumbled right out of the starting gate. A federal judge dismissed the complaints, explaining Allen's lawyers failed to include "adequate factual detail" in their filings.
Judge Marsha J. Pechman noted, "Plaintiffs should, where possible, set forth the specific websites that are at issue and identify the hardware and software with adequate detail for Defendants to know what portions of their business operations are in play in this litigation."

In other words, they didn't actually list any patent infringements, but instead just alleged they are occuring.

This doesn't mean the end of the lawsuit or Allen's plans to demand licensing fees for patents awarded to his failed company, Interval Research Corporation. Allen's spokesman indicated the suit will be amended and refiled by the deadline later this month.



Allen's decision to sue over patents he's never used for any other purpose (like creating a product or service) include suggesting products in an online store, adding audio and video to other content to attract a viewer's attention, and comparing the contents of multimedia files.

The big problem with these patents, as with so many process patents used to generate income for companies incapable of producing anything but technology licenses, is that they don't really describe anything in enough detail to produce a working product. Instead they simply lay out all the individual steps a developer would need to implement them.

And since what they really deal with is translating long established and well understood human actions to a form compatible with computerizing them it's hard to see where there's any innovation at all.

It's easy, however, to understand how Allen's former company, which was apparently built on licensing these patents, didn't last.

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5 user comments

116.12.2010 11:08

I am going to patent 'how to drive from anywhere to everywhere' and get royalties from everybody that drives there...

216.12.2010 11:31

Lol @ Dufas. I think I will get a patent on 'how to eat and drink at spots that people stop at' when they are on their drive. See not I get a cut out of your franchise also. :D

316.12.2010 13:08

looks to me like people think they own ideas, for some reason or another. ideas are a shared resource.

416.12.2010 14:47

Originally posted by Zeveroth:
Lol @ Dufas. I think I will get a patent on 'how to eat and drink at spots that people stop at' when they are on their drive. See not I get a cut out of your franchise also. :D
Would a 20 percent override seem satisfactory??

525.12.2010 05:33
killmouse
Inactive

i'm going to patent "the expression of views on the internet including but not limited to a comment format" as well as "the provision on information on the internet including but not limited to how to format" and "the expression of ideas"

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