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The patent that killed the browser. September 8, 2003

Posted by Lee Cherry in Uncategorized.
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In a catch-22 lawsuit against Microsoft what turns out to be a win against the goliath may in fact have broader implications. Eolas Technologies Inc. of Chicago and the University of California (UC) filed a patent infringement lawsuit back in 1999 against the giant software maker Microsoft. It recently was upheld with a $520 million dollar verdict against Microsoft. That patent, U.S. number 5,838,906, was developed by Eolas president Michael Doyle at the University of California in San Francisco and covers technology that enables small computer programs, often referred to as “applets” or “plug-ins,” to be embedded in Web pages and interacted with through Web browsers like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The upside is a small company finally wins out against the behemoth… the absurd downside is the effect this verdict could have on all browser plugins developed after the patent filing – Flash, Java, Real Player, Quicktime, 3d VR, et al. Very reminscent of the patent filing for hyperlinks in web browsers by a British firm back in 2000.

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