michael naimark
 
a statement about the interval lawsuit
Michael Naimark
27 January 2011

I am listed as lead inventor on patent number 6,757,682, “Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest”, one of the four asserted patents in the Interval Licensing lawsuit. The origin of the patent was an Interval Research project exploring how to find live events as they happen. The project was focused and specific, and led to, among other things, an Interval spinoff venture called Kundi.com, which built a working, publicly-accessible system in 2001. I am grateful for our team and proud of our accomplishments.

Regarding the lawsuit, I have a contractual obligation, as a former Interval employee, to defend intellectual property to which I contributed and to respect confidentiality. (I did not, however, sign any “no-speak” or “non disparagement” agreement with Interval at the termination of my employment.) I am committed to these obligations.

I am also committed to fostering a vibrant creative culture. Long-term labs like Interval Research don’t come along often, and I’m grateful for Paul Allen’s support. But the stage is now set for enormous resources, from all sides, to support litigation over innovation. The creative community needs all the support it can muster, and it’s a perplexing thought that the money at risk in this lawsuit will likely exceed the annual budget of the National Endowment for the Arts, possibly several times over. It could be hugely significant if all parties commit to something good for the creative community as an outcome.

Finally, I’m committed to that which got us here in the first place: working in a creative, collaborative research setting then making something real of it. It turns out, our original venture may have been the right idea, just ten years too early. Recent advances, particularly over the past year (and by some of the lawsuits’ defendants), contribute to a compelling proposition today. For our team, we’re not done yet.


Related: Why I believe "open patent protection" might work.