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Since we are very much the kind of people to say we told you so, we’re going to take a moment to revel in our early assessment of the ambitious patent infringement suit that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s dot-com era think tank, Interval Licensing, brought in August against 11 Internet and retail titans. At the time, we said the complaint, filed by Susman Godfrey, was pretty vague about the allegedly infringing technology. We weren’t the only ones: As we reported in October, Google’s White & Case lawyers argued in a motion to dismiss joined by most of the other defendants that Interval’s complaint fell short of the tightened pleading standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly. Seattle federal district court judge Marsha Pechman apparently saw things the same way. In a seven-page order issued Friday, she granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss and gave Interval until Dec. 28 to file an amended complaint. “Plaintiff has failed to identify the infringing products or devices with any specificity,” Judge Pechman wrote. “Plaintiff’s complaint is little more than labels and conclusions, which are inadequate under Twombly, Iqbal, and even Form 18 [of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure].” In addition to Google, Interval’s complaint named as defendants AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube. It alleged that the defendants’ websites and products variously infringe four patents covering technology that compares and displays information; displays information “in a way that occupies the peripheral attention of the user”; or alerts customers to items of interest. (Sounds like pretty much every website on the Internet, if you ask us.) Judge Pechman noted that Interval has already promised to file more detailed allegations of infringement by Dec. 28, and thus that “amending the complaint with the necessary detail should not be onerous.” She urged Interval to specify precisely which of the defendants’ products, websites, hardware, or software allegedly infringe its patents. We left a message with Google’s lead lawyer, Kevin McGann of White & Case, and with Apple lawyer Brian Berliner of O’Melveney & Myers, but didn’t hear back. Interval counsel Justin Nelson of Susman Godfrey declined to comment.

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