Patently Bold: Paul Allen's Internet Lawsuit

Another day, and yet another audacious-sounding lawsuit in the tech world. This time it's Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) co-founder Paul Allen's company, Interval Licensing, LLC, suing a host of big-name companies: Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , Facebook, eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) , Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) , AOL, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) , Office Depot (NYSE: ODP  ) , OfficeMax, Staples, and YouTube.

The lawsuit claims patent infringement over some basic, ubiquitous, and vital Web functions like reading news in a Web browser and information alerts. In the video below, Fool analyst Rex Moore and Fool Chief Legal Officer Lawrence Greenberg discuss Allen's possible motives, including monetary rewards and credit for inventing these things. The defendants may claim the patents are not valid because the inventions do not meet the patent law's requirement that they be "non-obvious," because people who understood the Internet at the time of their invention would have anticipated them.

The lawsuits may take a long time to work their way through the system if they're litigated and not settled quickly. Most of these companies have very deep pockets and the ability to absorb the costs involved. Though it seems unlikely these companies would be seriously hurt by the final outcome in a meaningful way, it's unlikely that they are happy to have been sued.

Watch the video here:

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Rex Moore and Lawrence Greenberg make up the Fool's two-man bobsled team. Of the companies mentioned, Rex owns shares of Microsoft and eBay. Lawrence has beneficial interest in Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AOL. Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple, eBay, Netflix, and Staples are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on eBay. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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