Charter boss Paul Allen files suit against 11 companies

A company controlled by Charter Communications (OTC BB: CCMM) Chairman and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen has cut a wide swath of patent infringement litigation against 11 companies ranging from eBay to OfficeDepot, with AOL, Facebook, Netflix, OfficeMax and Staples in the mix as well.

The suit alleges that Interval Licensing, Allen's company, holds ownership of four e-commerce and Internet search patents and that the 11 companies have at some point violated those patents.

It's not as if Allen needs the money, so there's no mention of any remuneration demanded by the lawsuits. He is worth about $13 billion, making him the 37th richest man in the world (thanks to Microsoft, not Charter, which only late last year emerged from bankruptcy) and has pledged most of that to charity.

Seattle Times technology columnist Brier Dudley thinks the suit is about preserving Allen's legacy. "Suing today's most respected tech companies is an unusual path to take," Dudley wrote. "Allen must have decided that it's worth ruffling feathers today to secure a certain position in the history book."

Allen was reportedly unavailable for comment.

For more:
- see this story
- and this Seattle Times story

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