The lawsuit was filed today in Seattle’s U.S. District Court. The Microsoft co-founder has always been mercurial, to say the least, but this is like a bolt out of the blue. The implications are staggering — especially considering that the lawsuit, according to news reports, says Allen’s Interval Licensing LLC provided initial research funding for Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, which “resulted in Google”. According to the complaint as described by news reports, Interval alleges that Google, Google’s YouTube unit, Apple, AOL, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples all violated four of Interval’s patents issued between the years 2000 and 2004 related to Internet browser technology and the display of information for shopping, news, video and other online content. Interval Licensing was founded in 1992 by Allen and venture capitalist David Liddle. Interval Licensing asks for unspecified damages, and an injunction preventing the defendants from further infringement or “a royalty for post-judgment infringement”.

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