Microsoft Gets Some More Bad News About Eolas

from the back-to-the-lower-courts-it-is dept

Coming just a month after the patent office decided that Eolas' patent for plugins is valid, Microsoft can't be all that happy to hear that the Supreme Court won't review their appeal in the case that has them owing $500 million while also making browsers much less useful -- for an idea that certainly seems fairly obvious (embedding one program into another). The battle still needs to be reviewed by the district court, but the latest few moves haven't gone in Microsoft's favor. Considering that Microsoft was hoping to use the various prior art arguments in the lower case, the USPTO's findings last month may look particularly damaging. Again, it's quite hard to see what Eolas has done that deserves them getting half a billion dollars.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 10:48am

    Microsoft actually WANTS to lose this

    Despite all its posturing, Microsoft actually wants this patent to be found valid, and here's why:

    It forces the browser to be a *single binary* rather than a container for plugins. That means Microsoft will get to dictate what they build into IE, and have a convenient excuse. Flash? Sorry. Java VM? Sorry.

    It also provides a huge I.P. threat to Firefox and other browsers, by essentially trashing their ability to embed plugins as well.

    The fact that cinema and backroom shinanigans can go on like this in the US without government intervention speaks to the corruption in our government at the moment. Sad!!

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

  2. identicon
    Riley, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 11:23am

    Re: Microsoft actually WANTS to lose this

    Ridiculous doesn't even begin to describe these patents.

    While it is true that Microsoft could potentially benefit from an all out patent battle where the best lawyers controlled the software industry, I honestly don't believe that they want to play the patent game. I never see them going after other companies for violating a patent, but I have no doubt that this will change. They are essentially being forced into the patent business and as a result, I fear things are only going to get worse in the future. Sadly, if MS would have started building an extensive patent library back in the 90s, they could probably be forcing most of their competitors out of business by now. And how will these patents affect open source initiatives?

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

  3. identicon
    malhombre, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 11:57am

    Re: Microsoft actually WANTS to lose this

    In response to your last sentence, I think the time has come to find out more about our politicians views on the entire digital arena, not only abortion, religion in schools, drugs, crime, etc.
    I think maybe today, by sheer numbers, more citizens are affected by internet usage than all of the other issues, yet we rarely know where our elected reps stand on the future of internet regulation, taxation, censorship, fees, hardware and software development rights, etc.
    Also, I think we need to create a specialized area of legal expertise to handle these issues, as so many current attorneys and judges seem to have only the faintest idea of what truly matters and what is best in the public interest.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 12:01pm

    No Subject Given

    Let's leave age out of this, but I used plug-ins in a tape sort program in 1968. Honeywell called it "own code" and I know IBM had mechanisms like that in many of their programs as well.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 1:31pm

    No Subject Given

    I used what were effectively plug-ins in the 1960's. Sorts and other programs used to have parameters for "own code hooks," which were just places to put a link to your binary. Idiotic in the extreme.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 1:34pm

    No Subject Given

    What about plug ins for photoshop and other programs? I use Finale. That has several plug ins. This will be far more reaching than has been addressed here. The company I work for has plugins for their own internally developed software. What happens to those?

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 1:39pm

    Microsoft doesn't owe them

    I think you have an error in your story. Microsoft won in March of this year, and don't owe Eolas anything at the moment. They were arguing over the methodology used to calculate the damages, that's all.

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

  8. identicon
    giafly, Nov 1st, 2005 @ 1:47am

    Re: Microsoft doesn't owe them

    Re: I think you have an error in your story. Is this what you mean?: A federal appeals court partially reversed a lower-court decision that had exposed Microsoft to $565 million in damages.

    It was not as simple as you think. In March 2005: "Both sides claimed victory in the mixed ruling, which reversed part of the lower-court ruling, affirmed other parts of it, vacated the decision as a whole and sent it back for a new trial." The current case follows on from that.

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

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