(David Mack) Here we go again. On Friday, Paul Allen’s patent gathering firm Interval Licensing fired off a broadside of patent lawsuits against a huge swath of Silicon Valley companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook and AOL.
At question are four patents that, on first glance, would appear to define the Internet, including innovations that, “aler[t] users to items of current interest.”
Todd Bishop at Seattle’s TechFlash noticed that Mr. Allen’s neighbors Microsoft and Amazon seemed to be obvious absentees from the list. When he asked an Interval spokesperson about their absence, he would not comment on litigation strategy. However, he did go on to state that, "This is the most recent step in a long process…but it is not necessarily the end of the process."
While no one would argue that protection for IP is not important, commentators are already beginning to wonder why Mr. Allen has waited so long to take action against companies that are household Internet names. Was he not clear until now that they had violated the patents?
One has to wonder if it could have anything to do with reports that comprehensive patent reform is inching closer to completion. Hopefully, continued lawsuits like Mr. Allen’s, and news about patent agitator Acacia’s funding bump, will reinvigorate the drive towards a patent system that can deal with the realities of 2010.