Judge Deals Paul Allen a Setback in Patent

Billionaire investor Paul Allen’s patent lawsuit against some of the biggest names in high technology ran into a stumbling block as a federal judge in Seattle dismissed the complaint for not describing its allegations specifically enough.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman on Friday set a Dec. 28 deadline for the plaintiff, a company controlled by Mr. Allen called Interval Licensing LLC, to file an amended complaint. A spokesman for Mr. Allen said it plans to do so soon, calling the judge’s order a “procedural issue” that won’t halt the case.

The suit, filed in August, names tech companies Google Inc., its YouTube subsidiary, Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Yahoo Inc., AOL Inc., eBay Inc. and Netflix Inc., as well as OfficeMax Inc. and Staples Inc., as defendants. The complaint accuses them of infringing four patents covering technology developed at Interval Research Corp., a Palo Alto, Calif., lab and technology incubator that Mr. Allen financed but that closed down about a decade ago. Mr. Allen is a co-founder of Microsoft Corp.

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