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Android named in updated Interval patent suit

Interval Licensing refiled a lawsuit on Tuesday against 11 technology manufacturers and retailers — including Google and Apple — alleging that each infringed on patents owned by the company.Interval Licensing, which owns the patents granted to the now-closed Interval Research (co-founded by Paul Allen, a founder of Microsoft) claims that Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Youtube, eBay, Netflix, OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples are infringing on four key patents.

Interval Licensing refiled a lawsuit on Tuesday against 11 technology manufacturers and retailers — including Google and Apple — alleging that each infringed on patents owned by the company.

Interval Licensing, which owns the patents granted to the now-closed Interval Research (co-founded by Paul Allen, a founder of Microsoft) claims that Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Youtube, eBay, Netflix, OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples are infringing on four key patents.

Interval Licensing originally filed a suit against the 11 companies in August 2010, alleging that they were infringing on web technologies developed and patented by Interval Research in the 1990s.

However, on 10 December US District Judge Marsha Pechman dismissed the case on the basis that the charges were too vague. The deadline for Interval Licensing's refiling was set for 28 December.

The updated filing now includes specific examples of the allegedly infringed upon patents, including one that covers a method of providing suggested related content online.

"For example, when a user views a particular music album on iTunes, the iTunes system displays both the selected music album and links to other related music items," the filing reads.

The patents also refer to a "browser for use in navigating a body of information, with particular application to browsing information represented by audiovisual data" and an "attention manager for occupying the peripheral attention of a person in the vicinity of a display device".

The suit specifically alleges that the Google Android operating system infringed on several patents held by the company.

For example, the display of a notification icon when an Android handset receives a new Google Voice message.

"If any of those infringement assertions against Android is true, this can spell trouble for makers of Android-based devices, and for Android application developers,” wrote Florian Mueller, founder of the NoSoftwarePatents campaign, in a blog post on Wednesday.

"Patent holders can choose to sue Google, device makers, application developers, users, or any combination of the foregoing options," he added.