Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen's Interval Licensing filed a lawsuit accusing 11 major corporations, including Apple, Google and Facebook, of infringing on its Internet search patents.

The company is asserting four patents against a cluster of defendants, including also AOL, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo and Google's YouTube, according to the suit.

Allen co-founded Interval, which said in a press release that its patents were fundamental to e-commerce and search.

This lawsuit is necessary to protect our investment in innovation, spokesman David Postman said. We are not asserting patents that other companies have filed, nor are we buying patents originally assigned to someone else. These are patents developed by and for Interval.

Facebook said it will fight the accusations. AOL, Office Depot, Netflix and OfficeMax declined to comment. The other companies were not immediately available for comment.

We believe this suit is completely without merit and we will fight it vigorously, said Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes.

(Reporting by Dan Levine, Alexandria Sage, Alex Dobuzinskis and Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Gary Hill)