Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Now Eolas Wants To Ban Microsoft From Distributing IE

from the shutting-down-the-internet dept

The folks at Eolas really seem to be getting cocky these days. They did win a half a billion dollar judgment, after all, saying that Microsoft infringed on their patent (though, now more evidence of prior art is showing up). Microsoft is appealing the ruling and making changes to the browser in case the ruling stands. However, that's not good enough for Eolas, who has now filed for an injunction that would permanently bar Microsoft from distributing IE. They'll still be able to distribute IE without the ability to do plugins (the annoying workaround they talked about earlier this week). Once again, it's nice to see how this "innovation" is helping to break the way most people use the internet.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, Oct 8th, 2003 @ 1:12pm

    Patents vs. Domain Names

    Correct me if I'm wrong here (why do all my postings start that way?), but if I register a domain name solely for the intent of trying to sell it and someone comes along and has a legitimate use for that domain name they can get it taken away from me with only some simple paperwork. Basically if I hold the domain but don't intend to actually do anything with it other than try to make money off owning the name, then the courts/aribtrators (sp?) tend to favor the other side.

    Why are patents different? Why can I patent something that is pretty obvious to a lot of people in the field, has a ton of existing prior art and NOT DO ANYTHING WITH IT but wait until someone else is making money from "my idea" and then sue them for half a billion dollars and then go back to court and try to dictate what products they can or can't distribute?

    The only thing I can think of with Eolas's latest decision is that someone finally realized that IE is integrated into all of MS's operating systems (and office packages) and that if they can't distribute IE then they can't distribute Windows, Office, the MSDN, etc. and they have Microsoft over a barrel and can demand even more money from them.

    Although I don't object to someone sticking it to Microsoft, I really hate to see people making money off of someone elses work like that.

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

  2. identicon
    Jon Burdick, Oct 8th, 2003 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Patents vs. Domain Names

    When you get a patent, normally it's for coming up with something useful that didn't exist before. When you pay for a domain name but don't use it you are not achieving anything useful. The law favors those who "work the patent" and do something with it. For example, you may be found to have "abandoned" your patent if you didn't do anything with it, thus opening the door for someone who will do something useful with it. The reason you are allowed to sue for infringement of your patent is that you taught the competition how it's done, either that or they were lazy / incompetent with their prior art searches.

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

  3. identicon
    Beck, Oct 8th, 2003 @ 1:47pm

    No Subject Given

    I think they want to force Microsoft to pay the judgement now instead of dragging this through the courts for years. If Eolas gets the injunction then Microsoft can't continue with the current IE while appeals drag on.

    In any case Microsoft is changing IE so that the injunction wouldn't affect them anyway because IE would not infringe the alleged patent.

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

  4. identicon
    Tony Lawrence, Oct 8th, 2003 @ 2:17pm

    Eola has it's good points

    While I absolutely agree that this patent never should have been issued (nor should probably most computer related patents), this actually has a useful effect:

    Forcing people to save something before executing it will go a long way toward eliminating "accidental" infection.

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

  5. identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, Oct 8th, 2003 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Patents vs. Domain Names

    The law favors those who "work the patent" and do something with it.

    By "work the patent" I assume you mean "file it away in a drawer and forget about it until you see something in the newspaper that reminds you that you might actually own that idea and then drag it out and sue someone", right?

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

  6. identicon
    AMetamorphosis, Oct 9th, 2003 @ 6:57am

    Domain name registration.

    I believe that someone who registers a domain name should be the rightful owner of it. Period. This is no different than real estate. I have the right to purchase property and as long as I pay the taxes on it I can let it sit there empty if I choose. In fact, I do this now knowing that it is prudent to purchase property that is located in areas that are ripe for redevelopment. Could you imagine someone coming along and taking the property away from me because they have a desire to use the property in a manner that they see fit ? Unless the domain name a person registers is a blatant abuse of a business's trademarked name or person's legally protected name and they are registering the domain name in order to blackmail the business or person into paying an exorbitant fee to sell it, I believe the courts should side with the person/entity that had the forethought to register and pay for the domain name. It's virtual real estate. Who should own ... ? The Catholic Church or the singer ? People that register names are not " cybersquatters " , they are intelligent people who had the forethought to legally purchase domains knowing full well that eventually these would become more valuable. Since they have to pay to keep these names registered they are not squatters. Squatters are people who overtake a place and do not pay anything to use/be there.

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

  7. identicon
    westpac, Oct 9th, 2003 @ 7:09am

    Re: Domain name registration.

    Didn't Coke pay like half a million dollars to buy the rights to This is like people who find out where the freeway is going to be built and go buy up the land so they can sell it for ten times what they paid for it.

    The Catholic church could make a legitimate claim to if they could show they intended to use it for a legitimate purpose. But if John Doe buys to run a porn site that's a different story. The reason the whole cybersquatter issue became a big deal was because people were selling domains that were registered trademarks like for hundreds of thousands of dollars simply because they applied for them first. Should legitimate businesses be forced to pay extortion to someone who registered a domain name just to force them to pony up big bucks? What's the first thing you do if you're searching for a company's website? You type in Doesn't it piss you off when you end up on a site that has nothing to do with the company you're looking for because they didn't register the domain in a timely fashion but instead you just get a page saying "this domain is for sale?"

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

  8. identicon
    AMetamorphosis, Oct 9th, 2003 @ 7:33am

    Re: Domain name registration.

    You are exactly right ! As I stated, if a company that has a trademark like Coke, they should NOT have to be blackmailed for the right to purchase their own name, but on the same hand, no one owners basic words and therefore should have the right to purchase these words or combination of words as a prudent business investment. People who register trademarked names should be stopped at the point of registering. Now, if I was smart enough to register or , why should a big corporation that sells computers or toys be able to use their legal team to take away my right to own this domain ? Madonna is still just a word, not a brand name, not a trade-markable word. And if the Catholic church would want to buy it just to sit on it and keep John Doe from abusing the word, to the highest bidder I say ...

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

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