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Patents Government Microsoft The Courts News Technology

Eolas vs. Microsoft Lawsuit Settled and Sealed 45

Posted by Zonk
from the another-biggie-comes-to-a-close dept.
theodp writes "The Seattle P-I's Todd Bishop reports that Microsoft has settled its 8-year-old web browser plug-in patent dispute with Eolas. The spat begat the click-to-activate Web after Microsoft was slapped with a $500+ million patent infringement judgement. Neither Eolas nor Microsoft will be disclosing terms of the deal, although Eolas told investors to expect a dividend (PDF). Microsoft didn't say whether or how the settlement would affect its approach to the underlying technology in IE or other programs. Just last month, the USPTO issued a non-final rejection of the patent's claims, citing the work of Pei-Yuan Wei as prior art."
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Eolas vs. Microsoft Lawsuit Settled and Sealed

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  • Re:what????? (Score:4, Informative)

    by EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) on Friday August 31, 2007 @08:55AM (#20423387)
    Wait for the next quarter's report when they'll have to disclose it. SEC rules are fun.
  • Re:what????? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jayfar (630313) on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:02AM (#20423425)
    "Eolas is privately held, and the letter does not disclose the total number of shares outstanding in the company."

    So no disclosure from Eolas. It remains to be seen how effectively ms can hide the terms and dollar amount in their quarterly reports.
  • Eolas privately held (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jayfar (630313) on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:48AM (#20423819)
    No ticker - Eolas shares are privately held.
  • Re:what????? (Score:2, Informative)

    by yaddayaddaslashdot (811353) on Friday August 31, 2007 @12:31PM (#20426109)
    Public companies generally are required to disclose settlement terms if they are material.

    Last quarter Microsoft's gross revenues were somewhere north of $14 billion. If they paid 500 million to Eolas (and presumably it was less than that, given the verdict of $521 million and the fact of a pending reexam that might kill the patent), that's way less than 5% of their revenues for one quarter. Most securities experts would say that isn't material.

    And the other terms of the agreement probably amount to saying that Microsoft can do what it used to do. That's not material, either.

    Finally, as TFA says, Eolas is not, in fact, public, so has no public disclosure obligations.
  • Re:For the layman (Score:5, Informative)

    by silentben (1119141) on Friday August 31, 2007 @01:27PM (#20426797) Homepage
    In a nutshell, Eolas had a patent pending for some form of integrated media into web pages. When IE supported Flash, Eolas saw this as infringement and sued Microsoft. Since then, MS designed new versions of IE to require you to click on a Flash element in order to activate it, thereby no longer being fluid. But they left a back door in that if a developer included the Flash object by having a separate javascript file write it to the page, then this would not require clicking to activate it (enter SWFObject as the lay-developers easy way out). I just hope that this settlement included some exchange of words that discouraged Eolas from pursuing similar charges against Mozilla and other browser developers. It is bad enough they had effected change with THIS frivolous lawsuit.

To communicate is the beginning of understanding. -- AT&T