Patent trolling isn’t just for the relevant these days according to the WSJ. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who lost $8 billion in the cable industry and now owns the Seahawks and Trailblazers, is suing Apple (and everyone else) over some mundane patents.
The technology behind one patent allows a site to offer suggestions to consumers for items related to what they’re currently viewing, or related to online activities of others in the case of social networking sites.
A second, among other things, allow readers of a news story to quickly locate stories related to a particular subject. Two others enable ads, stock quotes, news updates or video images to flash on a computer screen, peripherally to a user’s main activity.
The Journal notes that Allen’s Vulcan Ventures conveniently isn’t suing anyone in the local Seatlle area.
Named in Mr. Allen’s suit, along with Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), are AOL Inc (AOL)., eBay (EBAY) Inc., Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc., Office Depot Inc., OfficeMax Inc., Staples Inc., Yahoo (YHOO) Inc. and Google’s YouTube subsidiary. Notably missing from the defendants’ list are Microsoft (MSFT), in which Mr. Allen remains a major investor, and Amazon.com (AMZN) Inc., which is based in Mr. Allen’s hometown of Seattle.
Patent litigation is on the rise with many high profile cases turning up huge settlements. NTP got $600 million from Blackberry last year, for instance.
Allen is currently worth $13.5 billion and can usually be found floating around Puget Sound in some of the world’s costliest yachts (pictured above).
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