You Typed in “Net-Neutrality”. Did You Mean Litigation?

The buzz on the News sites right now is that Paul Allen has filed a lawsuit against the entire internet.  Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, has officially filed against 12 companies, alleging a violation of patents that he owns.

The suit lays out four patents for technology one of which allows for a website to “suggest” things consumers might like, and another that allows readers to locate stories based on a subject.

The lawsuit was filed by Interval Licensing, LLC., a company that Paul Allen financed during the internet boom.

What’s interesting to note is that Microsoft is left off the litigation, but that a lot of big name internet companies are named, including Google, Apple, Facebook, and Yahoo.  

This lawsuit follows a string of other patent lawsuits, including that of NTP against of the same companies in Paul Allen’s suit. This suit included Microsoft and was focused technology patents regarding the way email is delivered to mobile phones. The court ruled in favor of NTP and similar patent cases have been ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.  Such cases have resulted in big payouts, like Research in Motion, Ltd., the maker of BlackBerry, shelling out $612.5 million since 2006.

The spokesperson for Interval Licensing David Postman says, “We recognize that innovation has a value, and patents are a way to protect that.”

TechCrunch quotes a representative from Google, “This lawsuit against some of America’s most innovative companies reflects an unfortunate trend of people trying to compete in the courtroom instead of in the marketplace.”

In the shadow of negotiations with the FCC, Google, and Verizon over net-neutrality, the integration of Bing into Yahoo!, and the growing popularity of Google Android and Apple mobile devices – is this a way to Microsoft to catch up with the rest of the pack, or do you think there is some validity to Interval Licensing’s patent suit?