Paul Allen, one of the co-founders of Microsoft, has filed a patent action against some of the biggest names in the technology industry.
Allen's investment company, Interval Licensing, is suing Google, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, AOL, Yahoo and YouTube among others for infringement on key technology patents. Microsoft is conspicuously not on the list filed in the court action.
"These acts of infringement have caused damage to Interval, and Interval is entitled to recover from defendants the damages sustained by Interval as a result of defendants' wrongful acts in an amount subject to proof at trial," the complaint reads.
The legal case hinges around four specific patents, issued from 2000 onwards. They include patent No. 6,263,507 for Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, patent No. 6,034,652 for Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device, patent No. 6,788,314 for Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device, and patent No. 6,757,682 for Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest.
The patent claims are broad, but analysts say that this is a serious case and tyhat, while a number of companies have been targeted, there is one that is in Allen's sights.
"Allen isn't a patent troll but Google is clearly the target here," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told V3.co.uk.
"He's defending specific intellectual property. It's not like he needs the money. He's one of the richest men in the world."
Why does Facebook store "my entire call history with my partner's mum", asks developer who requested his Facebook data
Facebook database included text-message metadata - despite not using Facebook Messenger for SMS
Before Ocado could start selling the technology it had developed to other retailers, it had to tear down and rebuild its own monolithic architecture
Successful attack could result in harm to patients and financial loss, warns NHS governing body
Guccifer 2.0 claimed to be a lone Romanian hacker - until a schoolboy error gave him, her or them away