A company called Interval Licensing LLC has filed a complaint for patent infringement against AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo! and YouTube. The name may not be familiar but Interval Licensing is owned and controlled by Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates. It generated approximately 300 patents in less than a decade – and four of those patents are the basis for the legal action.
The patents include "alerts that information is of current interest to a user" and "encouraging customers to use products that display information in a way that occupies the peripheral attention of the user".
[Additional information: WSJ.com; MercuryNews.com; BBC News]