In August, Paul Allen sued Google (along with AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, and Netflix, among others), citing a variety of infringements against patents he obtained as principal of Interval Licensing. According to the complaint,
AOL, Apple, eBay, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube’s acts of infringement have caused damage to Interval, and Interval is entitled to recover from Defendants the damages sustained by Interval as a result of Defendants’ wrongful acts in an amount subject to proof at trial.
That complaint has now been dismissed by a US District Judge in Washington state for being overly vague. As the Wall Street Journal reports,
The defendants vowed to fight the suit. Google and Apple filed motions to dismiss the complaint because it doesn't specify which of the defendants' goods or services infringe the Interval patents.
"The allegations in the complaint are spartan," Judge Pechman wrote, siding with the defendants....A spokesman for Mr. Allen, David Postman, said a scheduling conference in the case will take place as planned Monday. "The case is staying on track," he said.
The lawsuit, however vague, hits core technologies in search and e-commerce and, if Allen wins, could have major impacts on Google and the rest of the companies involved. Ed Bott maintains that Paul Allen is not a patent troll (and I actually agree with him), but it remains somewhat mysterious how Allen expects to connect all of the dots with his broad, far-reaching, and highly ambitious suit.
It's also not clear precisely what he hopes to accomplish, besides make a whole bunch of money. Since he's not exactly wondering where his next meal is coming from, it seems likely that there are underlying motivations that are more significant that damage payments from the likes of Google, no matter how deep its pockets.