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If your e-commerce site shows customers related products or makes product recommendations, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen wants money from you. That's the upshot of an amended lawsuit that Allen's company, Interval Licensing, filed Dec. 28 against Staples, Office Depot and OfficeMax, along with eBay, Netflix, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, Apple and AOL.
And if that list sounds familiar, it's because Interval sued all those companies last August for patent infringement. That lawsuit was thrown out for being too vague about what the defendants had done wrong. The new version is very specific - and what happens to the Big Three of office supplies in this case will pretty much dictate what all other e-tailers can and can't do.
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