Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Patents Your Rights Online

Eolas vs. Microsoft Verdict Stands, Despite ReExam 55

theodp writes "A federal judge on Wednesday upheld a jury's $521 million verdict against Microsoft in the high-profile Web browser patent infringement lawsuit, denying Microsoft's motion to suspend a decision until the USPTO completes a reexamination of the patent. Eolas was also awarded prejudgment interest of $45 million. An injunction against future sales of IE that contain technology based on Eolas' patent was also granted, but put on hold pending an appeal."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Eolas vs. Microsoft Verdict Stands, Despite ReExam

Comments Filter:
  • Bad for IE users (Score:1, Informative)

    by ObviousGuy ( 578567 )
    Now instead of working seamlessly, there will be a pop-up dialog to prompt the user to activate the desired control.

    Fuck you, Eolas.
  • Does this mean ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by craigmarshall ( 679127 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @05:37AM (#7983603)
    An injunction against future sales of IE that contain technology based on Eolas' patent was also granted, but put on hold pending an appeal.

    Does this mean that distribution of IE (with ActiveX enabled) may be made illegal? Doesn't Windows Update, Flash, Java , Director, etc. need ActiveX to work?

    If this is the case, what if this patent-holding company decides to do the same to Mozilla, Konqueror, etc.? Are we screwed?

    Craig
    • by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @05:56AM (#7983670) Homepage
      Facetious Flash:

      Eolas Sues Mozilla and get source code for free.

      In other news, the main sourceforge server and othe open source communities are moved to India, slightly out of reach of the US Courts.

      On a more serious note:
      If this happens, we can all go back to the good old days of well-formed html with linked media resources.
    • The title of the patent in question (is: "Distributed hypermedia method for automatically invoking external application providing interaction and display of embedded objects within a hypermedia document".

      Microsoft are proposing to change IE's behaviour [microsoft.com] to work around the patent. The new IE will prompt users before loading external embedded objects. This manual invocation circumvents the "automatic" specification in the patent, and thus IE no longer infringes.

      The fact that this change will irritate the bej
      • The bad news is that the onus of work will shift onto site authors. Anyone maintaining a site using embedded objects will have to either re-code or suffer a changed "user experience".

        Ahhh - that's useful. Since they are recoding, they now have the chance it make it accessible [w3.org] too. That would be beneficial for users.

    • Unless this gets overturned, we're screwed anyway. This type of blatent misuse of patent law (not to mention doing something that will interfere with millions of people) can't go on or we'll waste money being afraid.
    • by rcpitt ( 711863 )
      It sounds to me like EOLAS has finally done what the DOJ and all the security experts in the world have wanted to do for years - remove IE from its tight integration into the OS and stop IE and all of the various things it is included into from executing insecure code without any user interaction. I expect my customer support load will go down :)
      • Not really, it just means that the push to .NET will happen faster. Read some of the fine print, the patent does not apply to programs actually integrated into the browser.

        So, Eolas wanted to break IE's hold on the Internet, instead, they break all third party apps (Flash, Java, etc..) while allowing Microsoft's latest technology to work flawlessly.
  • by BlackIce_101 ( 566190 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @05:38AM (#7983605)
    isn't it funny how microsoft is constantly in court, regularly the loser, and yet never seems to run out of ways to appeal, postpone, invalidate, and generally weasel out of every possible negative consequence to it's actions? Or maybe infuriating would be a better choice of words...
  • "Sales" (Score:4, Funny)

    by DrSkwid ( 118965 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @05:40AM (#7983615) Homepage Journal

    Where can I buy this 'internet explorer'?

    Does it run on plan 9 [bell-labs.com]?

    It will be interesting to see if they separate IE from Windows in a way they said was impossible!

    • My understanding of the use of the term "sales" is that they were referring to sales of products that have IE integrated into them, or that include it as part of the installation. Since this would account for 90%+ of all the current Microsoft product catalog, this could represent something of a problem for our friends in Redmond... :-)

      MT.
  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @05:54AM (#7983661) Journal
    This is almost ideal news for the typical Slashdotter.

    First, the existing patent system is widely complained about. This patent probably shouldn't have been granted in the first place. However, if Microsoft had won this case, all that would have happened is that this particular patent would have been invalidated. Now, a major tech company just took a half million dollar loss because the PTO is using silly rules. The tech industry now has serious reasons to argue for modification of tech patents. Microsoft's patent portfolio is doubtlessly valuable in terms of preventing newcomers from entering the market, but there's a significant question as to whether it's worth half a billion dollars (plus all the other copycats that are likely to run out and start suing large companies).

    Second, someone had to take a nasty hit to get business folks upset about the state of things. And who would we rather have take the financial hit than Microsoft?

    Best patent news I've heard in a long time.

    I hope Eolas leaves Mozilla alone (well, AOL).
    • by AllUsernamesAreGone ( 688381 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @09:12AM (#7984433)
      The problem is that, this sort of hiccup aside, the patent situation is exactly what the big players in the tech industry want. Yes, that's .5 billion Microsoft is now out of pocket, but the potential loss could be even more immense if patent laws were changed to be more accurate - microsoft patents are not just used to prevent newcomers, they are used in cross licening schemes and as a revenue source. If a substantial number of them were cancelled it could result in microsoft having to pay future and possible back licenses. And it wouldn't just be microsoft, a large number of big companies would suddenly find fairly significant holes where patents sit now.

      I'd actually like that to happen (I'm vicious that way) but the tech industry is one big Old Boys network, it isn't going to push for reform.
      • You're largely correct about the roles that patents play in IT, but I should point out that MS has not, to date, used it's signifigant patent portfolio to shut projects down. They like to compete in all kinds of other (often unfair or underhanded) ways, but not with patents.

        Patent law being used like this on a large scale basis would be the doom of the IT industry - thats why all the big players cross license after all, they know they'd be screwing themselves in the long run if they try to play hardball.

    • I've asked this before but never received a very good answer.

      Why doesn't the FSF and other free software advocates attempt to corner the tech patent market? I know software patents are considered evil and against the basic philosophy of the FSF. I just wonder if the GPL could be modified to allow certain patents held in a FSF trust of some sort. Then there would be incentive to apply for patents and use them in free software with the ultimate goal being the elimination of software patents all together.
      • I've asked this before but never received a very good answer.

        Why doesn't the FSF and other free software advocates attempt to corner the tech patent market? I know software patents are considered evil and against the basic philosophy of the FSF. I just wonder if the GPL could be modified to allow certain patents held in a FSF trust of some sort. Then there would be incentive to apply for patents and use them in free software with the ultimate goal being the elimination of software patents all together. R

    • irst, the existing patent system is widely complained about. This patent probably shouldn't have been granted in the first place. However, if Microsoft had won this case, all that would have happened is that this particular patent would have been invalidated. Now, a major tech company just took a half million dollar loss because the PTO is using silly rules. The tech industry now has serious reasons to argue for modification of tech patents. Microsoft's patent portfolio is doubtlessly valuable in terms of p

  • Oh dear (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Curtman ( 556920 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:04PM (#7986062)
    This patent is a carte blanche for Eolas to sue pretty much anyone they choose. I don't see how Mozilla's plugins [netscape.com], and extensions [mozdev.org] are any different from what they are suing Microsoft over.

    Someone please correct me, I sure hope I'm wrong.

    It causes me great pain to be on the side of Microsoft in this issue. Damn you Eolas.
    • IANAL, but where are the deep pockets with Mozilla? Going after Netscape would lead to AOL Time-Warner, but Mozilla?

      LK
      • IANAL, but where are the deep pockets with Mozilla?

        Eolas could/would file for a Cease And Desist order about developing and/or distributing the source code in each state/country it could get such an order issued.

        • Eolas could/would file for a Cease And Desist order about developing and/or distributing the source code in each state/country it could get such an order issued.

          True enough, they could, but where's the benefit? They'll pay lawers for actions that they won't get any return from.

          LK
          • One possible benefit: reducing competition to browsers that licence their technology. Personally I don't think this will happen any time soon, as Eolas hasn't gone the SCO style licencing route. In future, though, Eolas or the patent may change hands. If Microsoft (for example) ended up owning Eolas or the patent, you can bet they'd use it against Mozilla.
  • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:59PM (#7986789)
    Eolas is talking with members of the Linux and open-source community about the use of its Web browser patent, which is at the heart of its high-profile infringement case against Microsoft, the company's founder said on Wednesday. "We're in discussions with major players in Linux world and working on plan to resolve '906 patent issue with entire Linux community," Eolas Founder Michael Doyle told eWEEK.com, referring in short hand to the full patent's number. "The solution will be supportive of open-source community." Full story [eweek.com].
    • They have every reason to allow co-operate with open source deveopers. They can not make money from open source, so if they enforce the patent the result will be that developers will work around it, and the last thing they want is the emergence of alternative.
  • Now I just wait for all the businesses to evaluate their web designers and figure out that they don't have anyone that can write good, clean, cross-platform compatible, markup that doesn't rely on senseless bullshit.

    Only a matter of time before the job offers start pouring in for real web designers...

    (yeah, right...)
  • Gropernor Schwarzenegger's doing his best to destroy the UC system with incessant shortsighted cuts and fee hikes [signonsandiego.com]

    I just think of the lawsuit as a massive $50 million contribution [ucop.edu] from Microsoft to the university. We should probably name a computer lab, or maybe a e-toilet, after them...


  • The Eolas CEO, and its only employee, is a TCL veteran who is well known on comp.lang.tcl. Maybe this will give us some indication about his attitude towards mozilla.

    http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=lang_en &ie=UTF-8&safe=off&q=author:mike%40doyles.com+

    http://wiki.tcl.tk/212

  • They describe a "method" for shipping data around and having it appear on a web page. This is an idea that glues together existing methods. They are patenting an idea that 200 other people had simultaneously or prior to them.

    Eolas criticizes the W3C for having a "public policy against software patents". What's to criticize? This is like having a policy against fraud, lying and deceit. Eolas has done no work to implement anything and has not advanced the Web or Internet in anyway. They want a free lunc
  • I read it in the sidebar "Legolas vs. Microsoft ...", yeah yeah I know, I feel guilty for not going to the RotK in the first week...

"Aww, if you make me cry anymore, you'll fog up my helmet." -- "Visionaries" cartoon

Working...