Feeds

US Patent Office returns to Microsoft-Eolas fray

Eight-year IP battle still hot in 2007

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft is getting another chance to prove to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that the disputed Eolas patent for browser plug-ins is invalid.

The two companies have fought for eight years over the ownership of running executables in a web browser. US courts have awarded Eolas over $500m in the fight, but the ruling was overturned at appeal.

The USPTO upheld the ownership and validity of Eolas's patent in 2005, but has agreed to re-examine the issue. Last Friday, Microsoft announced a five-judge panel at the USPTO will hear evidence from both sides. Microsoft now claims to own an earlier, but more general, patent that covers the same ground as Eolas's patent.

Eolas's IP is owned by the University of California and licensed to the tiny firm. Both the University and Eolas sued Microsoft in 1999, alleging the implementation of ActiveX in Internet Explorer infringes on their intellectual property.

In 2003, a jury agreed with the claim, awarding damages of $520.6m and interest. In response, Microsoft released a patch containing new code that works around the Eolas patent.

Microsoft successfully appealed the case on March 2005, winning a retrial on the claim that a lower court incorrectly blocked evidence of prior art. This is scheduled in Chicago federal court on July 9.

According to Microsoft, a web browser named Viola, created by software engineer Perry Wei a year before the UC patent filing date, uses a similar plug-in implementation. Wei had written the program when he was a student at the University of California at Berkeley. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.