Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

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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  • identicon
    Fazookus, 9 Jun 2004 @ 6:58pm

    Prior Art

    Microsoft, Microsoft... would that be the same Microsoft that recently patented the double-click?

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

  • identicon
    Chris Ray, 28 Jan 2005 @ 1:29pm

    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

    amp;p=1&f =G&l=50&d=ptxt&S1=(Doyle.INZZ.+AND+Hypermedia.TTL.)&OS=IN/Doyle+and+TTL/Hypermedia&a mp;R

    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="http://www">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.

    < br>

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

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