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Microsoft Co-Founder Launches Patent War

Publication Date: 
August 28, 2010
The Wall Street Journal Online
Dionne Searcey

Professor Mark Lemley is quoted in the Wall Street Journal on Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's patent suit against Silicon Valley companies including Apple, Google, eBay, Yahoo, and Facebook. Dionne Searcey filed this story:

They're the everyday fixtures of the Internet experience: pop-up stock quotes on a website, suggestions for related reading near a news article, videos along the side of your screen.

Now, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen says he owns the technology behind all these ideas, and he's demanding that some of the world's top Web companies pay up to use them.

The 57-year-old software guru on Friday sued much of Silicon Valley, claiming Internet giants such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and eBay Inc. have built their businesses around what he says is his technology.


"It sounds like the classic patent-troll case," said Mark Lemley, a Stanford Law School professor who specializes in intellectual property and has represented Google and Netflix Inc. in other cases. He said suits filed by holders of years-old patents over technology that's in widespread use can be difficult for a plaintiff to win.