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Eolas To Sue Apple, Google, and 21 Others 252

Posted by kdawson
from the foaming-cleanser dept.
vinodis and several other readers sent along the news that Eolas is suing 23 companies including Apple and Google for patent infringement. The company won $585M from Microsoft in a drawn-out, 9-year battle that the companies settled in 2007; in the course of it the USPTO upheld the "906" patent several times. Now, Eolas is also in possession of a newly-issued patent that they claim covers the use of any browser plugin with AJAX. Let's see how far this lawsuit gets before the Supreme Court plays its wildcard in the Bilski case, which we have been discussing for a while now.
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Eolas To Sue Apple, Google, and 21 Others

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  • by dingen (958134) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:01PM (#29663599)

    What the hell does this mean?

    a newly issued patent that they claim covers the use of any browser plugin with AJAX

    What do plugins and AJAX have to do with each other? Are they saying you can't build a browser that supports AJAX? I don't understand what the patent is for.

  • And then (Score:3, Insightful)

    by El Lobo (994537) * on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:02PM (#29663611)
    ...people still scream in joy in this place whenever MS gets sued by some patent troll.... without knowing that this only leads to:

    1- Other will be sued if they succeed.

    2- MS, Abble and others will get more and more defensive patents..

    So here we go...

  • by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:05PM (#29663655)
    I think we've hit the breaking point for software patents. The i4i suit was the first real big patent case I can remember (disclaimer, I have a short memory), especially due to the number of people affected - not just users, but retailers like Dell (according to them). This one ought to make everyone say "enough is enough".

    [/fingers_crossed]
  • Fuck Eolas (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maharb (1534501) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:10PM (#29663703)

    This is the type of scum of the earth shit that ruins productivity, innovation, and increases costs for every other consumer. Everyone wants to throw CEO's in jail yet these douche bags don't do ANYTHING productive for society. At least CEO's try and make their companies profitable(by providing services to consumers), even if it is just to cash in stock options.

    Talk about the ultimate drain on society being upheld by the government... we need to vote against the judges and politicians that allow this to happen under their watch. GET OUT AND VOTE AGAINST THIS!! It will lower the cost of doing business and consequently the cost of goods and services. It will make these lawyers get out of the legal system for frivolous shit and back to doing something productive for society.

  • Re:Fuck Eolas (Score:1, Insightful)

    by dingen (958134) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:15PM (#29663753)

    Eolas is not the bad guy here, they're just doing what is legally possible. You can't condemn a company for following the law, just because it seems wrong.

    The problem obviously is the patent law. I have no idea if the US is willing to change that, but if they do, it will be the end of shit like Eolas is pulling right now as well.

  • Re:Fuck Eolas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:21PM (#29663821) Journal

    No, they are the bad guy. The laws suck, and the guys using the laws to hold the software world hostage to moronic demands are bad guys.

    What I'm finally waiting for is the other shoe to drop and guys like Microsoft to finally admit that software patents are just plain bad. The industry is becoming increasingly hostile to new development.

  • Re:Fuck Eolas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:22PM (#29663827)

    Eolas is not the bad guy here, they're just doing what is legally possible. You can't condemn a company for following the law, just because it seems wrong.

    Morality is not defined by law.

  • Honest question. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:28PM (#29663889) Homepage Journal

    If you are able to sue 23 corporations that are also competitors for infringing on your patent, doesn't that pretty much mean it's an obvious, non-unique patent & should be thrown out?

  • Re:Fuck Eolas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by knarf (34928) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:34PM (#29663931) Homepage

    Eolas is not the bad guy here, they're just doing what is legally possible. You can't condemn a company for following the law, just because it seems wrong.

    Slave owners were not the bad guys, they were just doing what was legally possible...

    ...

  • Buy the company (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rangataua (820853) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:41PM (#29664019)
    I wonder how much it would cost to simply buy 51% of Eolas? If the shares are publicly traded, with 23 companies being sued it might even be possible for them to buy a small share parcel each without too much notice.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:42PM (#29664031)

    They patented one of the most obvious uses of XML, if not the most obvious use.

    That is patent trolling.

  • Re:Fuck Eolas (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jfengel (409917) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:44PM (#29664047) Homepage Journal

    Morality is not defined by law.

    Nope. But you can generally assume that if something is legal, and profitable, somebody will do it. That's why you have to fix the law. If your only argument is "But it's immoral!", sooner or later you'll find somebody who says, "So what?"

    Today, that's Eolas. And yeah, it makes them bad guys. But you can't fix the problem by removing the bad guys; other equally bad guys will pop up. You have to fix the law so that it's no longer profitable to break it.

  • Re:Fuck Eolas (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @07:11PM (#29664271)

    Eolas is not the bad guy here, they're just doing what is legally possible. You can't condemn a company for following the law, just because it seems wrong.

    The problem obviously is the patent law. I have no idea if the US is willing to change that, but if they do, it will be the end of shit like Eolas is pulling right now as well.

    Law corrupters are worse than law breakers. It's their slimey, vile ilk that cause tax law to be unreadable, because "12% of your income" is too difficult a concept for them to be honest about. They ignore the part about "Congress shall have power ... to promote the progress of science and useful arts" and move directly to "securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries" -- which this tripe didn't actually invent, they just thought it up!

    They are technological stumbling blocks and stiflers, looking to make a buck, not promote progress, off of the patent system. They should go to jail for extortion and theft of +$500m and so should the judge that awarded it, for conspiracy. A judge should look at the patent case, say "Your argument does not promote the progress of science and useful arts, therefore, by nature of my office and the oath I've sworn an oath to agree with the constitution, so therefore, I cannot allow this bullsh*t to stain an American courtroom" and throw the case out.

  • Re:Fuck Eolas (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @07:39PM (#29664553) Homepage

    Why should we decide? I blame he law *and* Eolas.

  • Re:Fuck Eolas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by element-o.p. (939033) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:22PM (#29664877) Homepage
    That is a load of crap.

    If there is a loophole in a law that allows my hypothetical company to dump toxic waste into the municipal water supply -- but it saves my company money -- then I would ABSOLUTELY be to blame for taking a legal action that was clearly harmful to my community. Whether or not the law is broken, I have a moral imperative to act ethically. Certainly there are grey areas, where what you do might not be particularly nice, but isn't actively harmful (for example, your average political ad) but when you begin abusing the law for profit, you've stepped out of the grey and into the black.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:56PM (#29665131)

    and for the McDonald's coffee lawsuit, the lady really did have a legitimate case, but it's the one everybody "remembers" as bullshit.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:25PM (#29665665)

    So if Youtube rewrites their site in XML, instead of HTML, they won't be infringing?

  • Who's next? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:55PM (#29665845)

    Citrix for presentation server & published apps? VMware for their PCOIP? Wyse? X.org?

    It seems like in 7,599,985, they've successfully patented thin-client, VDI, and any remote application control/access/interactive media viewing from an embedded web app....

    The invention allows a program to execute on a remote server or other computers to calculate the viewing transformations and send frame data to the client computer thus providing the user of the client computer with interactive features and allowing the user to have access to greater computing power than may be available at the user's client computer.

    .. Other existing approaches to embedding interactive program objects in documents include the Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) facility in Microsoft Windows, by Microsoft Corp., and OpenDoc, by Apple Computer, Inc. At least one shortcoming of these approaches is that neither is capable of allowing a user to access embedded interactive program objects in distributed hypermedia documents over networks.

  • by RonBurk (543988) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:26AM (#29666391) Homepage Journal

    Now anybody can see what you did and how. Patents are as much a learning tool as they are an economic engine.

    That's the sentence where you stuck your foot in it. How many hundreds of thousands of programmers on the planet? OK, now how many programmers search the patent database for ideas they can buy before coding? 100,000? 1,000? Can you name me even 10? Where is the Eclipse plug-in for searching the patent database for relevant algorithms? Where is the panoply of web startups offering an online search tool that locates the patented algorithms that will help you get your next project done faster if you license them?

    When it comes to software, patents have had half their faces blown off. They no longer function at all as a learning tool, or even as an economic engine for a hard-working programmer/inventor to profit from their non-obvious invention/algorithm. With much of their original, intended functionality rendered useless, patents (most especially in the realm of software) have long since passed the point where they offer society more costs than benefits. They are almost entirely the tool of large companies, lawyers, and those who sell services to inventors gullible enough to believe we still live in an age where patents work the way you describe.

  • "Fucked up" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fadir (522518) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @02:20AM (#29666925)

    That's all that comes to my mind when I hear the words patent and U.S. in the same sentence. And that doesn't only apply to the IT.
    The whole patent system should be put where it belongs: into the dustbin

"Though a program be but three lines long, someday it will have to be maintained." -- The Tao of Programming

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