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Paul Allen sues Apple, Google, Facebook, others over Web patents

A firm owned by billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen today sued Apple, Facebook, Google, YouTube, and seven other companies, charging them with infringing patents filed more than a decade ago.

Google and Facebook blasted the lawsuit as "unfortunate" and "without merit."

The complaint, filed Friday morning in a Seattle federal court, named AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and Google's YouTube.

The matter of who owns innovation is at the heart of the lawsuit filed by Interval Licensing, a Seattle company owned and controlled by Allen that owns the patents awarded to Interval Research, a Palo Alto company founded by Allen and Xerox PARC veteran David Liddle in 1992.

Over nearly a decade, Interval Research employed 110 scientists who worked at the leading edge of personal computer and Internet technologies, winning about 300 patents. Many companies earn money through licensing patents that they own. The lawsuit did not specify monetary damages Interval is seeking.
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