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Eolas patent trial: Relax! The Internet is saved
02-10-2012, 04:14 AM,
Eolas patent trial: Relax! The Internet is saved
Eolas patent trial: Relax! The Internet is saved
Alyshah Hasham, The Toronto Star, 9 Feb 2012

The Internet was saved in a Texas courtroom Thursday after a protracted three-year legal battle.

A $600 million patent infringement lawsuit launched by a tiny tech company against eight of the world’s biggest corporations, including Google, Yahoo, Amazon and YouTube, ended after a three-day trial in sleepy Tyler, Texas.

Patents on “the interactive web” belonging to Eolas Technologies were declared invalid by a jury. And with that, the threat to future of the online innovation, as feared by Tim Berners-Lee (one of the so-called fathers of the Internet) is over.

“We are pleased that the court found the patents invalid, as it affirms our assertion that the claims are without merit,” said a Google spokesperson Thursday.

Eolas had asserted it holds two valid patents on the method that allows web browsers to be interactive. Dr. Michael Doyle, chairman of Eolas, allegedly developed the software in 1993 with two colleagues at the University of California.

As Wired magazine explains, this technology is what allows you to watch videos on YouTube, have search suggestions pop up in Google’s search bar or even rotate the image of a sweater on an online shopping site.

The defence claimed the Eolas software was predated by another plugin-enabled browser called Viola.

The lawsuit, launched in 2009, targeted two dozen companies for royalties but only eight companies remained into the trial.

The others including Apple, e-Bay, Playboy, Frito-Lay, Texas Instruments, JPMorganChase and Citigroup all settled. Several — including Playboy and JPMorgan Chase have entered licensing agreements with the company.

Eolas famously sued Microsoft in 1998 claiming Internet Explorer infringed their first patent — known as “patent 906.” They won $561 million in a 2003 federal judgment. That was overturned in appeal, but Microsoft later settled the case in 2007 for more than $100 million according to Wired’s estimation.

In 2004, Berners-Lee, who now heads the W3C web standards body, urged the US Patent and Trademark Office in a letter to declare the patent invalid because it would “impair the functionality” of the web causing “substantial economic and technical damage to [its] operation.”

Instead, after some flip-flopping, the U.S. Patent Office allowed Eolas to obtain a second patent that is an extension of the first in 2010.

Berners-Lee continued to object to the patents. In Nov. 2010, he underlined in Scientific American how royalties could strangle innovation and e-commerce: “The basic Web technologies that individuals and companies need to develop powerful services must be available free, with no royalties., for example, grew into a huge online bookstore, then music store, then store for all kinds of goods because it had open, free access to the technical standards on which the web operates.”
[Image: randquote.png]
02-10-2012, 10:22 PM,
RE: Eolas patent trial: Relax! The Internet is saved
nice to hear that some of the big boys are getting hit.
[Image: conspiracy_theory.jpg]

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