Feeds

Microsoft loses $521m Eolas patent appeal

Patently unfair?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
(Not so) Instagram now: Time-shifting Hyperlapse iPhone tool unleashed
Photos app now able to shoot fast-moving videos
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.