Patent Office Decides Maybe Eolas Did Invent The Obvious

from the uh-oh dept

Last year, when the patent office rejected the claims in Eolas' browser plugin patent, Eolas quickly turned around and said that this was standard procedure and the eventual ruling would come out in their favor. It looks like they might be correct. The patent office indicated today that they're going to uphold the Eolas patent, which could mean that Microsoft could be in a bit of trouble (nothing a lot of cash won't solve, but still...). This is a perfect example of ridiculous patents in action -- and everyone will suffer for it, either by forcing browsers to be less useful or by making other products more expensive. Again, this isn't a situation where someone came up with an idea that was "stolen," but that those who were doing the actual innovating came up with the obvious next step, only to find someone sitting around claiming they owned a patent on that obvious concept.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Rikko, Sep 28th, 2005 @ 2:57pm

    A ray of hope...

    Were it my patent, I'd make it free use for all, except for ActiveX.. Then we're looking at $20/license/day.. And then we might finally be rid of that piece of shit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Pete Austin, Sep 29th, 2005 @ 2:37am

    Re: A ray of hope...

    Why stop there? Were it my patent, I'd make it free use of all, but only in states which voted for me as president.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Justin Johnson, Sep 29th, 2005 @ 8:42am

    Re: A ray of hope...

    agreed... active x blows ass

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Conchúr MacLochlainn, Sep 29th, 2005 @ 9:09am

    Eolas

    Eolas is the Irish for Knowledge or Information

    :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Lawrence B. Ebert, Sep 29th, 2005 @ 6:29pm

    Eolas patent not found obvious

    This re-exam was director-ordered, at the request of W3C. In the initial paper by W3C, Pennie & Edmonds argued that the claims were anticipated by(ie, were dead on) certain prior art. Even the examiner didn't buy that in the first office action. There was one obviousness rejection and then another obviousness rejection. The Eolas attorney filed a 30 page response, with three declarations from two professors.
    The Eolas v. Microsoft litigation remains, with the Wei browser as prior art.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Jimbo, Oct 2nd, 2005 @ 9:08am

    Trial transcrips show that they did steal it

    "Again, this isn't a situation where someone came up with an idea that was "stolen," but that those who were doing the actual innovating came up with the obvious next step, only to find someone sitting around claiming they owned a patent on that obvious concept."

    The trial transcripts indicate that Eolas showed their browser to both Andreessen and Gosling in 1993, and to Microsoft in 1994, so I'm not sure what you're talking about. And, the implementation that wound up in the various browsers is a direct rip-off from the IEEE paper that the Eolas guys published in 1994. Of course they stole it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Jimbo, Oct 2nd, 2005 @ 9:13am

    Re: Eolas patent not found obvious

    The Wei browser was studied by the reexam examiner and declared to be irrelevant. This case will never go back to trial, since the PTO has just vaporized any arguments regarding Viola that could be made at trial

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Lawrence B. Ebert, Dec 14th, 2005 @ 8:29am

    Re: Eolas patent not found obvious

    First, decisions made in re-examination are not binding on the district court or the appeals court, so any vaporization at the PTO is not necessarily a vaporization in the courts.
    Second, publications concerning the Wei browser were not presented in the W3C re-exam request. Such documents were in a nether-world because they were presented at trial, but were [wrongly] not considered prior art [in a bad decision by the district court].
    Third, even if these documents [and possibly public use] did NOT establish invalidity, the failure to disclose to the PTO might establish unenforceability through inequitable conduct, an entirely different issue. Why the Berkeley prof failed to mention the Wei browser to the PTO is hard to fathom. Why the Berkeley prof tried to obtain a statement from Wei about the Wei browser seems an incredibly stupid thing to have done.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This