Microsoft Appeals Eolas Decision

from the take-that dept

theodp writes “Citing the inventors’ fraud on the USPTO, Microsoft filed a blistering brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn the $565 million Eolas patent infringement judgment. The company said the district court erred in limiting evidence about the Viola browser, which Microsoft claimed in trial constitutes prior art. Interestingly, the W3C Patent Advisory Group – which included Microsoft’s Associate General Counsel – did not see fit to mention the Viola prior art in its well-received request for a USPTO re-exam. “

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Comments on “Microsoft Appeals Eolas Decision”

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Chris Ray says:

Somebody ought to patent this!

Here’s the idea?lurk around on a few discussion boards and poach
some of the good ideas you see there. Next,
write these ideas up in a manner that is sufficiently ambiguous to qualify for
a patent. Don?t worry when the PTO
rejects your first attempt–they will help you tweak your application until it
is accepted. Instead of taking your
?invention? to market, sit on the patent until the idea has been implemented by
several companies. Once the stakes are high enough, go shopping for an attorney
who will work on contingency. Then you practice
your best ?victimized by heartless big business? look, hit the morning talk
show circuit, and tell your story of penury and disenfranchisement. Then just show up in court to collect your
check and you are set for life.

Think this is a fantasy? I learned otherwise when a client asked my company to look into the a
href=”,aid,9598,00.asp”>Eolas v. Microsoft
case. Using a team of slick attorneys, a high-paid expert witness, and a
broadly worded

claiming ownership of browser plug-ins, Eolas was able to beat more than half a
billion dollars out of Microsoft in court.?Fortunately, the Web community, led by Tim Berners-Lee, href=””>presented prior art that
undermined the patent?s novelty, forcing the Patent and Trademark Office to href=”,aid,113393,tk,dn111303X,00.asp”>reexamine
the patent. In the first step of the reexamination process, the
PTO saw
the light
and agreed with the community?s opinion that the
patent should never have been granted (or should have at least borne the label
?As seen on href=””>WWW-Talk?).

With the matter apparently headed toward a reasonable
resolution, people have stopped following the case. But this monster isn?t dead! Outside the lens of public

scrutiny, Eolas
and the unwitting PTO are like Frankenstein and Igor?working surreptitiously to
revive the patent most people thought was long buried. In the process, Eolas is presenting arguments
that both fly in the face of common sense and contradict key positions they took
during trial. Worse yet, the PTO seems to be buying it (?Yeth, Doctor!?).

Just like the stalwart peasantry who are always ready with
pitchfork and firebrand, we of the Internet community must rise up and smite
this horrible creation. In all
seriousness, reading href=””>this analysis will
surely send shivers down your spine and compel you to add your voice to the
protest urging the PTO to evaluate Eolas? seduction with a critical eye. In doing so, the PTO will find that they

being misled by arguments that href=””>suspend the
application of common sense, disagree
with the documented history of the web
, defy
commonly accepted principles of computing
and href=””>contradict
Eolas? own trial testimony.

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