Feeds

Microsoft loses $521m Eolas patent appeal

Patently unfair?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Website security in corporate America

Microsoft has failed to overturn a court ruling that it should pay Eolas $521m for infringing a patent in its Internet Explorer browser technology.

A federal judge yesterday denied a Microsoft motion to suspend the decision until the US Patent Office completed a re-examination into Eolas' patent 5,838,906.

Judge James Zagel wrote that the "reexamination was not reason enough to delay his decision or the appeals process and that such a delay would more significantly hurt Eolas if the patent ultimately remains valid." eWeek reports. Microsoft must now pay interest on the original award, which has already clocked up an additional $45m in costs.

Microsoft has 30 days to muster an appeal, and it says it remains "steadfast in our belief that the Eolas patent is not valid".

In response, Michael Doyle, Eolas founder, told eWeek: "If Microsoft can't read the writing on the wall now than they need a new eye doctor."

In August 2003, Microsoft was found to have infringed Eoloas patent 5,838,906 concerning a mechanism used by Web page authors to embed and automatically invoke certain interactive programs. Microsoft says that its attempt to invoke prior art before the jury was denied.

Eolas' successful assertion of this patent has caused consternation in the Web community. And in October last year, inventor of the World Wide Web and head of the W3C, Tim Berners-Lee, took the unprecedented decision to actively fight a patent case. In a letter, to the director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, James Rogan, to insist he review the awarded patent, he argued:

"Removing the improperly disruptive effect of this invalid patent is important not only for the future of the Web, but also for the past ...The practical impact of withholding unrestricted access to the patented technology from use by the Web community will be to substantially impair the usability of the Web for hundreds of millions of individuals in the United States and around the world."

Last October, Microsoft announced minor modifications to Windows and IE, in response to the Eolas case, to sidestep future royalties. In November, the US Patent Office said it would re-investigate the Eolas patent. ®

Related links

The offending patent

Berners Lee's letter

The W3C’s case against the patent

Related articles

Microsoft fined $520m for infringing patents
Microsoft tweaks IE
FTC calls for patent reform
Berners-Lee comes out fighting to save Web
US Patent Office will review Eolas claim

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.