Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Linux Containers, Java IoT

Linux Containers: Article

Microsoft Could Save $521M - PTO Preliminary Ruling Finds Eolas Patent Invalid

Microsoft Could Save $521M - PTO Preliminary Ruling Finds Eolas Patent Invalid

Microsoft may not have to pay Eolas Technologies upwards of a half-billion dollars in damages for patent infringement after all, or, for that matter, change its Internet Explorer browser and gum up the inner workings of the web because of Eolas' far-reaching patent claims.

Microsoft yesterday also settled part of a patent infringement complaint made by AT&T that had just gone to trial and was looking for somewhere $90 million and $300 million charging because Microsoft's NetMeetings and TrueSpeech widgetry allegedly tread on a 1981 patent AT&T had on digital voice.

The amount of money Microsoft is paying AT&T is being kept quite.

The two are going to take the unsettled part of the case to the federal court of appeals.

Anyway, getting back to Eolas. The US Patent and Trademark Office yesterday made a preliminary finding that the 1994 Eolas-University of California at Berkeley plug-ins/applets patent was invalid by virtue of prior art.

Eolas now has 60 days to protest the PTO's decision and get it reversed. Eolas's lawyers claim that PTO backflips are common and that Eolas will ultimately prevail.

Eolas can also appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences or to the federal courts.

The jury verdict against Microsoft last August provoked the computer industry to unusual solidarity with Microsoft when it became clear that, in the words of one lawyer, Eolas was "screwing with the whole world" and that everybody had some skin in the game.

Tim Berners-Lee, the esteemed director of a spooked World Wide Web Consortium, wrote to the director of the PTO asking that the Eolas patent be reviewed.

Berners-Lee told the PTO that Eolas' patent would do "substantial and technical damage" to the Web and force "cascades of incompatibility to ripple through" it.

W3C's web specifications like the web touchstone HTML would have to be rewritten and Berners-Le said that even a small redesign of the Microsoft browser "would render millions of web pages and many products of independent software developers incompatible with Microsoft's product."

He was thinking of plug-ins like RealNetworks' RealAudio and RealVideo streaming, Apple's QuickTime video, Macromedia Flash and Shockwave players, Adobe's PDF Reader and Sun's Java not to mention Microsoft's own Windows Media Player, now made controversial by the European Commission trustbusters.

Berners-Lee also claimed that without plug-ins, "The cycle of innovation on the Web would be substantially retarded."

The PTO immediately granted his petition.

The Chicago trial court has stayed its injunction forbidding Microsoft to distribute any more offending code until the PTO and a promised Microsoft appeal to the federal court of appeals sorted things out.

Microsoft has already paid Eolas $45.3 million in interest on the $521 million award. Eolas wanted $110 million, but the judge went with Microsoft's formula, which was based on Treasury Bills and not the prime rate.

Unfettered, however, the trial court is making noises that would expand how long Microsoft has been infringing the Eolas patent and double the award, already one of, if not the biggest award ever made.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (20)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Here are the Top 20 Twitter Influencers of the month as determined by the Kcore algorithm, in a range of current topics of interest from #IoT to #DeepLearning. To run a real-time search of a given term in our website and see the current top influencers, click on the topic name. Among the top 20 IoT influencers, ThingsEXPO ranked #14 and CloudEXPO ranked #17.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
Contextual Analytics of various threat data provides a deeper understanding of a given threat and enables identification of unknown threat vectors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Dufour, Head of Security Architecture, IoT, Webroot, Inc., discussed how through the use of Big Data analytics and deep data correlation across different threat types, it is possible to gain a better understanding of where, how and to what level of danger a malicious actor poses to an organization, and to determin...
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
LogRocket helps product teams develop better experiences for users by recording videos of user sessions with logs and network data. It identifies UX problems and reveals the root cause of every bug. LogRocket presents impactful errors on a website, and how to reproduce it. With LogRocket, users can replay problems.
Data Theorem is a leading provider of modern application security. Its core mission is to analyze and secure any modern application anytime, anywhere. The Data Theorem Analyzer Engine continuously scans APIs and mobile applications in search of security flaws and data privacy gaps. Data Theorem products help organizations build safer applications that maximize data security and brand protection. The company has detected more than 300 million application eavesdropping incidents and currently secu...
Rafay enables developers to automate the distribution, operations, cross-region scaling and lifecycle management of containerized microservices across public and private clouds, and service provider networks. Rafay's platform is built around foundational elements that together deliver an optimal abstraction layer across disparate infrastructure, making it easy for developers to scale and operate applications across any number of locations or regions. Consumed as a service, Rafay's platform elimi...