Judge says Paul Allen's patent complaints too vague

Paul Allen’s lawsuit against Apple and 10 other tech companies hit a small brick wall with a judge ruling that his allegations were too vague.

The Microsoft co-founder and billionaire began proceedings through his now-defunct Interval Research company in August. He said that Apple, Ebay, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Youtube, Netflix, Office Depot and Staples – as well as the company formerly known as AOL – had allegedly infringed a number of patents he owned.

He said at the time, that that the patents,6,263,507; 6,034,652; 6,788,314; and 6,757,682, were fundamental to e-commerce and search.

However on Friday the US District Court for the Western District of Washington said the complaint failed to identify specific products or devices.

Judge Marsha Pechman said the court and defendants were left to guess what devices infringe on the four patents and also that the case failed to indicate which of the defendants’ products or devices may be a problem.

The battle isn’t over, with the court granting Mr Allen Interval Licensing until 28 December, which means he can now file an amended complaint.

This is something that Mr Allen is likely to do, with a spokesman telling the Wall Street Journal that Interval plans to file an amended complaint soon. He also called the judge’s order a “procedural issue” that would not halt the case.

“The case is staying on track,” the spokesman said.