London: The co-founder of Microsoft, billionaire Paul Allen, has sued 11 major web-based companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube and eBay, alleging that they infringed on internet patents he owns.
According to ‘The Telegraph’, AOL, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples are the other companies accused of violating four patents said to cover fundamental web technologies first developed at Interval Research in the 1990s.
Allen’s lawsuit claimed that the 11 companies violated patents developed by Internal Research, a Silicon Valley research lab he funded in 1992, but which was shut down in 2000.
Those patents were later transferred to Interval Licensing, a company owned by Allen.
According to the complaint, Interval Research employed more than 110 of the world’s leading scientists, physicists, and engineers and was at the forefront in designing next-generation science and technology.
It also claims to have helped fund outside projects, including work done by Google founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page.
“This lawsuit is necessary to protect our investment in innovation,” David Postman, a spokesman for Allen, said.
However, Google and Facebook blasted the lawsuit as ‘unfortunate’ and ‘without merit.’
“We believe this suit is completely without merit and we will fight it vigorously,” Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said.