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Supremes shun Microsoft's Eolas appeal

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The Supreme Court has declined a request by Microsoft to examine its legal dispute with Eolas Technologies. The one-man company won over $500m from Microsoft in 2003 when a court ruled that the software giant had infringed an Eolas patent on embedding executables in web pages.

Microsoft wanted the Court to clarify the damages it was required to pay Eolas' sole proprietor and employee, Professor Michael Doyle and his former employer, the University of California, for losing the infringement case. In 2003, a jury ruled that Microsoft must pay $1.47 for every copy of Windows sold between November 1998 and September 2001, and based on an average selling price of $61, arrived at the figure of $521m.

Microsoft argued that since Doyle's patent is only effective in the US, liabilities should be confined to US revenues. Microsoft has consistently maintained that the Eolas patent ( 5,838,906 or '906) is invalid. Doyle filed the application on 17 October 1994, and it was granted on 17 November 1998. Microsoft claimed that Doyle had concealed evidence of an earlier browsing application, Viola, which constituted prior art. In September, the US Patent Office upheld the patent.

The case continues in the appeals court. ®

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