Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hiltzik says Allen suit is an Interval legacy thing

Michael Hiltzik suggests a rationale for Allen's lawsuit:

The lawsuit is more about Interval Research's legacy.

Interval hasn't been mentioned much over the last few years. But while it existed it was the talk of Silicon Valley. To run it Allen hired David Liddle, who had been one of the computer science and engineering pioneers at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, the fabled PARC.

Ironically, Xerox's PARC was known for generating good ideas (eg, mouse, ethernet) that were not commercialized by Xerox. Considering that Xerox arose from Chester Carlson, the guy who pushed one good idea against a ton of adversity, this is a real irony. Microsoft arose because IBM didn't understand where clones were going, and didn't know who actually created the first disk operating system.

In Hiltzik's theory, the Allen lawsuit might be to give credibility to discoveries at Interval that didn't even reach the level of those of Xerox PARC.

For patent law matters, Hiltzik quotes Mark Lemley (the guy who said Gary Boone invented the integrated circuit):

"This is a patent troll-style lawsuit," Mark A. Lemley, a patent law expert at Stanford law school, told me. And it is likely to have the same effect as conventional patent troll lawsuits: It will cost the defendants millions.

"They'll certainly have to litigate for a while," Lemley said, predicting that it will take a year and a half of lawyer fees even to get to the point where the defendants can ask a court to throw the case out.


Blogger New said...

I suspect that someone like Paul Allen would not have filed this kind of patent infringement suit unless he thought he had a pretty good chance of winning. And, of course, he can afford top-notch legal counsel. My question is, will Mr. Allen's pledge to give away most of his fortune apply to the (likely pretty hefty) damages if he prevails in this case?

3:12 PM  

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