Judge dismisses Paul Allen firm's patent lawsuit

Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:21am EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A district judge dismissed a patent infringement lawsuit brought by a company linked to Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen against a cluster of major corporations, including Internet giants Netflix and YouTube, saying the complaint failed to identify specific products or devices.

In August, Interval Licensing LLC filed the suit against AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and Google's YouTube.

Interval sought damages and a halt to the alleged violations of four patents it said were fundamental to e-commerce and search.

Judge Marsha Pechman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington said in a ruling filed on Friday that Interval "has failed to identify the infringing products or devices with any specificity."

Pechman said the court and defendants were left to guess what devices infringe on the four patents.

While dismissing the suit, the court granted Interval permission to file an amended complaint by December 28.

A spokesman for Allen said the judge's decision does not end the case and that Interval plans to refile.

"The case continues to move forward," wrote David Postman, a spokesman for Vulcan Inc, which owns Interval. Vulcan is Allen's holding company.

The case is In re: Interval Licensing LLC vs AOL Inc et al, Case No. 10-1385, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle)

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; additional reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; editing by David Holmes and John Wallace)