30 Aug 2010
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is suing 11 US tech firms, including Apple and Google, claiming patent violation over components essential to modern search and e-commerce sites.
Allen has filed suit against the companies, which also include Yahoo, Facebook and eBay, in a US district court.
The tech firms have been accused of violating four patents developed by Allen's now-defunct Interval Licensing, which he had founded in the 1990s. Two such patents relate to the automatic generation of suggestions for similar items on e-commerce, news and social networking sites, the Wall Street Journal said.
The other two refer to websites' generation of peripheral elements, such as ads, stock quotes and video images.
Google's YouTube, as well as AOL, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, are also named in the lawsuit. The suit does not target Microsoft, in which Allen remains a major shareholder.
Google, Facebook and eBay have all promised to fight vigorously against the allegations.
“This lawsuit against some of America's most innovative companies reflects an unfortunate trend of people trying to compete in the courtroom instead of the marketplace,” Google said in a statement.