Feeds

Microsoft loses $521m Eolas patent appeal

Patently unfair?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

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

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.