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Eolas patent decision deals blow to Microsoft

updated 11:25 am EDT, Fri September 30, 2005

Eolas patent decision

The US Patent and Trademark Office this week week endorsed a Web-browsing patent Microsoft is accused of infringing, , according to Computerworld: "In a decision unveiled Wednesday, the office reconfirmed a patent held by Eolas Technologies Inc. that allows interactive content to be embedded in a Web site, which is a common practice on the Internet. Eolas is a spin-off of the University of California....the patent office completed a "re-examination process" on the original patent, which was published in November 1998, and plans to issue a re-examination certificate to uphold its validity." Microsoft says it will present its side of the argument at the retrial as scheduled and is "confident it will achieve a successful resolution."

by MacNN Staff




  1. l008com

    Joined: Dec 1969



    F*** Microsoft

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: .....

    Hahahahahahaha. That's great. Except this patent, if enforced, doesn't just affect MS, but most likely all web technologies out there. So don't be surprised if you see them suing Macromedia, Apple, AOL/Mozilla folks, etc, as well.

  1. olePigeon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is what they WANT

    Microsoft probably lost on purpose. What this does is give validity to software patents.

  1. mikeschr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The ruling is wrong

    There's prior art all over the place for this, and basically, it's just one program calling another. They've just specified that one of the programs is a web browser.

  1. trevc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Is there such thing as a legitimate patent?

    If small company A with $50,000 for lawyers costs attempt to sue company B with $50 Billion available for lawyer costs, will the patent mean anything?

    And then there's the whole thing of IF someone should have received the patent in the first place!

    It's kind of like Microsoft patenting an interface (iPod) that Apple came up with and delivered before their patent was even submitted ... and they received it!

    Whole thing is kind of a farce.

  1. LordJohnWhorfin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Software patents

    Are completely stupid. They are the clear sign that our government has been completely taken over by big business, and they sign the death of small software businesses and creativity. The minute a large company wants some technology from a smaller company, all they have to do is slap a big infringement lawsuit on them and drive them to bankruptcy. In these matters it doesn't matter who's right or wrong, the one to win is always the one with the deeper pockets. The only ray of hope is that large companies might start lobbying against software patents once they find out the hard way they too can fall prey to these schemes. If M$ loses billions to this Eolas nonsense you bet they wont be defending software patents so vigorously in the future...

  1. eggman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    For once, I'm with M$

    I'm not about to say that all software patents are bogus, but this one sure is.

    But it isn't even as if Microsoft will be the big loser if this patent is defended: we all will be. Why? Well, because it's not only IE that embeds interactive content. Safari does. Firefox does. They ALL do.

    So, either all the browser manufacturers pay Eolas their pound of flesh, or we lose Quicktime movies in our browser windows. Macromedia Flash user interface elements.

    The prior art on allowing one application to contain plug-in clients is there. The patent office was inept in issuing the patent, as it all too frequently is.

  1. macimmortal

    Joined: Dec 1969



    h*** YeA!!! YEEEEEHAW!!! HALLELUIA! Where's the tylenol?

  1. beeble

    Joined: Dec 1969


    CSS rollovers

    That is interactivity. A table cell changing background colour as you roll over it. No java there. And no one has mentioned the interactivity brought into play by java. When was the patent originally filed? While there is plenty of technical prior art involved here, try explaining it to a judge in 30 seconds. Show him/her a copy of Netscape from before the patent was filed that demonstrates interactivity, even just the ability to load a plugin that provides interactivity and you've got a demonstration that not only did the idea exist before the patent was filed, but it was in the market place. My memory isn't the best, but I seem to recall using Netscape back in the mid 90's with quicktime content. How long has quicktime had href ability and the many other interactive elements in there? I'm pretty sure it was there before flash came out.

  1. lurkerdude

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If you read the university press release, the patent in question stems from work done in 1993. That is before Mosaic was even capable of displaying images in a web browser. I seriously doubt that there is a load of prior art here, concerning embedded applications in web pages.

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