Intellectual Property Analysis of Interval Licensing’s U.S. Patent Nos. 6,788,314 and 6,034,652 referenced in Interval Licensing LLC v. eBay, Inc. et al

Report Document
Report Date: 
Thu, 2011-01-13

In August of 2010, Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, initiated a lawsuit against 11 tech companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, YouTube, eBay, Netflix, OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples, alleging that they were in violation of patents granted to Interval Research in the 1990's while he was in a management role at that entity. In a statement, Interval Licensing stated that the "patents in the lawsuit cover fundamental web technologies first developed at Interval Research in the 1990s, which the company believes are being infringed by major e-commerce and web search companies."

Unfortunately, Paul Allen made a blanket allegation without actually singling out any product or service that supposedly infringed his IP. Much to his dismay, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman summarily dismissed the case on December 13, 2010, stating that Allen's allegations were too vague. Judge Pechman gave him until December 28th to re-file the case with greater specificity. On the 28th, Allen filed his revised suit, outlining specific products, services, and technologies that infringed on his patents.

The question stands: are Interval Licensing’s infringement claims against these tech companies valid, or will potential weaknesses in its asserted patents backfire in Paul Allen’s face? Using the M•CAM DOORS™ analytic platform, the innovation space surrounding the asserted patents was examined in order to understand their strength and defensibility in the face of prior and concurrent art innovations.

This report focuses on entities of interest with patents and innovations that predate or coexist with the holdings of Interval Licensing, as well as public-domain alternatives.