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Judge moves to dismiss Allen's patent suit

Judge moves to dismiss Allen's patent suit

Paul Allen is reportedly continuing his patent lawsuit, despite a motion to dismiss from a Seattle judge.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's attempts to sue a vast swathe of the technology industry over claims of patent infringement have been dealt a blow by a Seattle judge, who stated that Allen's suit 'lacked adequate factual data.'

The suit, which Allen filed back in August, accused major players in the tech industry - including Apple, Google, eBay, and AOL - of deliberately infringing on patents held by Allen's Interval Research.

The filing, which hinged on some older patents that address basic functionality for a corporate website, could have made Allen an even richer man than he already is - if it weren't for the actions of US District Judge Marsha Pechman, who accused Allen and his lawyers of failing to 'provide sufficient factual detail as suggest by Form 18.'

The order to dismiss also came with the claim that Allen's filing 'lacks adequate factual detail to satisfy the dictates of Twombly and Iqbal,' referring to a pair of famous Supreme Court cases from 2007 and 2009 that are used as the basis for finding an accusation of illegality plausible, rather than possible or conceivable.

Speaking to Seattle news site TechFlash, a spokesperson for Allen stated that the motion to dismiss is 'purely procedural' on the judges part, and does not represent a finding on the legitimacy of the lawsuit.

The same spokesperson confirmed that Allen is looking to continue the suit, filing more detailed documentation with the court before the dismissal deadline on the 28th of December.

Do you think that Paul Allen is right to continue his campaign, or should he take the judge's hint and drop the case? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

16 Comments

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sub routine 13th December 2010, 17:40 Quote
hmmm nice beard.
llamafur 13th December 2010, 18:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sub routine
hmmm nice beard.
That's exactly what I was thinking.
John_T 13th December 2010, 19:17 Quote
Patents and intellectual property rights are crucial to the fundamental workings of our modern economy, so obviously need to be protected from cannibalistic and predatory rivals.

However.

Far too many companies now file huge swathes of bogus, vague, all-encompassing patents - and then sit on them and do precisely nothing. Then, years down the line, attempt to sue other people who have actually spent all their money, time and effort to actually create the technology.

It'd be a bit like Leonardo Da Vinci trying to sue all modern helicopter manufacturers for a royalty because it was his idea - all because he drew some vague, half-arsed pictures before anyone else, yet with absolutely no idea how to make it a working reality.

Which is pretty much what Paul Allen has done. It's fine for the big companies who can afford to fight back, (expensive and time-wasting as it is) but to be sued by a multi-billion dollar company or individual could crush the small companies and individual innovators out there, irrespective of the litigation having no merit.

Patent laws need a serious overhaul: Not least of which I think the burden of proof needs to be changed and the claimant needs to be able to demonstrate themselves to have been actively working on the technology they are suing about - all of which to be demonstrated to the court before the defendant has to lift a finger or spend a single pound, (or dollar) in their own defence...
shanky887614 13th December 2010, 22:09 Quote
actually i think they should ban people from patenting an idea, lets think about this

if someone patents a device to turn macanicle energy into electrical energy (a generator)

and then someone comes and makes a better one that works in a completly different way the first person is still allowed to sue them becasue aparantly they own it
Cthippo 14th December 2010, 02:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
and then someone comes and makes a better one that works in a completly different way the first person is still allowed to sue them becasue aparantly they own it

x86 license anyone? :|
Snips 14th December 2010, 07:38 Quote
The photo looks like Paul Allen was grooming a young Bill Gates. "Let's step on the good foot and do the bad thing William!"
kempez 14th December 2010, 10:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
actually i think they should ban people from patenting an idea, lets think about this

if someone patents a device to turn macanicle energy into electrical energy (a generator)

and then someone comes and makes a better one that works in a completly different way the first person is still allowed to sue them becasue aparantly they own it

So if you're an inventor who has a great idea. Let's call it a game changer like how to store and transfer Hydrogen safely and easily for use in cars. You peddle this to the big car companies and they all say no.

Next thing you know Toyota have a car out that uses the technology you thought of, but couldn't get to market, meaning your idea was stolen by a company who have the funds and expertise to apply it.

That's fair is it??
kosch 14th December 2010, 13:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snips
The photo looks like Paul Allen was grooming a young Bill Gates. "Let's step on the good foot and do the bad thing William!"

That photo is the sort of thing I would imagine I would see on brass eye :p
bobwya 14th December 2010, 18:36 Quote
I am very unnerved by that photograph... Is Paul Allen the paedophile on the left??
Sloth 14th December 2010, 18:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kempez
So if you're an inventor who has a great idea. Let's call it a game changer like how to store and transfer Hydrogen safely and easily for use in cars. You peddle this to the big car companies and they all say no.

Next thing you know Toyota have a car out that uses the technology you thought of, but couldn't get to market, meaning your idea was stolen by a company who have the funds and expertise to apply it.

That's fair is it??
+1

This here is why we have patents. It protects the spirit of invention, rather than just production.

You'll notice, shanky, that your proposal effectively limits the possibility of personally held patents on anything larger than a person can make by hand. Without being able to patent an idea, anything which involves outside help for production can instantly be stolen by those producing it. Afterall, they'll have one built and they'll have the resources to build more. Giving you credit for the idea is an optional courtesy at that point.
SuicideNeil 14th December 2010, 21:58 Quote
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/business_idea.png

I've had so many cool ideas for inventions but had no way to develop them; years later I see something the same or very similar on the market and think to myself "If only I patented that idea...". Meh.
Marvin-HHGTTG 14th December 2010, 22:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
+1

This here is why we have patents. It protects the spirit of invention, rather than just production.

You'll notice, shanky, that your proposal effectively limits the possibility of personally held patents on anything larger than a person can make by hand. Without being able to patent an idea, anything which involves outside help for production can instantly be stolen by those producing it. Afterall, they'll have one built and they'll have the resources to build more. Giving you credit for the idea is an optional courtesy at that point.

I think his point was more that many companies are getting vague/general patents (such as converting mechanical energy into electrical energy) and then suing those who actually develop the means to do so, because they had the abstract idea. It's not quite the same as the example kempez used, which covered a specific method of doing something.
Sloth 14th December 2010, 22:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuicideNeil

I've had so many cool ideas for inventions but had no way to develop them; years later I see something the same or very similar on the market and think to myself "If only I patented that idea...". Meh.
Keep in mind that just because you didn't see it on shelves until years later still doesn't mean that no-one thought of it even before you. It could easily be a case where the inventor thought of it years before you did, then years after you thought of it he/she finally got the means of producing it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin-HHGTTG
I think his point was more that many companies are getting vague/general patents (such as converting mechanical energy into electrical energy) and then suing those who actually develop the means to do so, because they had the abstract idea. It's not quite the same as the example kempez used, which covered a specific method of doing something.
That probably was his intention, but the wording was simply to ban patenting ideas. Kempez and I were just highlighting the risks of such broad solutions which would often have more harm than good.

The problem which he's getting at is more with the quality of patents being allowed. How vague is too vague is hard to write down in stone on patent laws and, like the legal system, is best when let to decide by common practice what is allowable. Unfortunately, common practice has been allowing too much lately. Much like previous court cases are used to determine the right course of action in legal battles we've got a growing stockpile of painfully vague patents being allowed which set the precedent for all new patents.
Lance 15th December 2010, 12:48 Quote
I think the reason it takes such a large process to sort this all out is because it is very situational.

From an accountants point of view, an intangible asset is something that you have the resources to make happen, so if he was patenting ideas that he couldn't have come through on or wasn't trying to then what right does he have to cash in on what others have done.

Its just all very tricky.
Blarte 16th December 2010, 16:07 Quote
This already incredibly wealthy individual is just being a tad grasping
TimB 17th December 2010, 06:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
+1

This here is why we have patents. It protects the spirit of invention, rather than just production.

You'll notice, shanky, that your proposal effectively limits the possibility of personally held patents on anything larger than a person can make by hand. Without being able to patent an idea, anything which involves outside help for production can instantly be stolen by those producing it. Afterall, they'll have one built and they'll have the resources to build more. Giving you credit for the idea is an optional courtesy at that point.

Too bad the whole patent process is so ungodly expensive that the average person could never afford to get the patent in the first place.
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