back to article Microsoft-tested browser prosecution snares tech giants

Tiny Eolas Technologies is taking tech giants and major customers to court claiming they infringed its patents for working with online interactive content. Eolas has filed suit against Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Sun Microsystems, YouTube, Blockbuster, JP Morgan Chase, JC Penny and Playboy Enterprises, among others. The …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Neal 5

    Like I care

    Will I be still able to get dtreaming porn, I mean WTF else does anyone use the "web" for.

  2. asdf Silver badge

    ajax eh?

    Hmm many were into the great commie hunt until McCarthy (another "great" Republican) tried to accuse Eisenhower. Hopefully after opening the floodgates the case will turn out how it did for SCO. You know Google will be fighting hard as this effects them very directly. Friggin patent trolls and once again Texas is at the forefront of injustice, greed and the decline of civility, morality, and just plain common sense. Damn USA should have let Texas be their own hick republic and never have let them join the union.

  3. Rebecca Putman

    Another reason... get rid of software patents. This is just plain stupid.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Flogging a dead horse/spruce goose.

    "Patent '906 effectively claims rights over any form of content embedded and run inside a single web page."

    Dick Turpin wore a mask, and claiming rights to third party content is never ever going to fly, is it?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    I wish I still had the 'prior art' that was on the web in 1995 or 96. The beaver gnawing the tree was a BIG surprise when I opened the page - a mistyped - while at work. Damn near shited my pants - everyone in the area could see my screen. Luckily no one was looking my way at the time.

    IT - cause the whole dam industry was founded on porn.

  6. Mark Jonson

    What a joke


    These kind of patent cases involving anything that overreaching and already in widespread use should be thrown out as soon as they're filed. If Microsoft loses this I'm going to learn how to and patent a process to synthesize water from hydrogen and oxygen, then sue anyone who uses it without paying me a royalty. I'm going to be rich!


    I just hope Eolas doesn't sue me for putting that embedded sarcasm in this web page.

  7. Patrick Ernst

    Death by degrees

    How the hell do you patent incremental innovation? USPTO must be the only obvious answer.

    Embedding stuff in a web page up to and including any web apps is simply increments and additions to what has worked before. The first web pages were text only. Then GIFs and BMP files were added for a bit of colour. Animated GIFs got annoying pretty quickly but they ran - sort of. A small step to real animation when links to media files were added and then the leap to playing said media files in the web page itself. Web forms evolved to becoming inline apps. Remember forms that loaded the next form page in a frame when clicking on submit or next? Looked quite app like.

    An innovative leap might have been from text web pages to an AJAX or ActiveX app with nothing in between - but it never happened that qway. Eolas must die!

  8. Martin Owens


    They've decided to patent the internet, how nice for them.

    It's time software patents were utterly destroyed.

  9. Goat Jam
    Paris Hilton


    "allows websites to add fully-interactive embedded applications to their online offerings through the use of plug-in and AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML"

    And they applied for this when exactly?

  10. Geoff Mackenzie

    What innovation!

    "any form of content embedded and run inside a single web page. According to Eolas, the second patent in question - '985, awarded by the USPTO this month - is a continuation of '906 that "allows websites to add fully-interactive embedded applications to their online offerings through the use of plug-in and AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) web development techniques"

    Content! Embedded! In a web page! Interactive!

    Great stuff, it's only fair we pay these innovators for their contribution. Did the idea just occur to them while reading the HTML standard, or what?

  11. lukewarmdog

    oh dear

    How do they get these patents for things they were never involved in?

    Got some AJAX? That'll be 56 million dollars to stick it on a webpage please.

    Flash? Sure. 56 million dollars please.

    God forbid we should land on one of their properties, they've probably got the full set and three hotels on each.

  12. Ian 11

    There is a simple solution.

    These companies should just move their operations and registration to Europe where such idiotic patents are unenforcable.

  13. brudinie

    Down with sofware patents!

    This is a perfect example of why patent law should not apply to software.

    Patenting the technology which enables AJAX or embedding plugins in a page is like patenting the wheel. This is ridiculous. I think the company who owns these patents should grow up.

  14. g e

    If they had an 'H' in their name

    They'd have the right letters to spell


    Presumably only enforceable in the US due to their backasswards patent system. I notice they've avoided naming IBM, balls not big enough yet?...

    US Patent system. Petard. Hoist.

  15. johnB

    Who gains ?

    Just what is the point of patents (and copywrights) ?

    In the past they may have had a role in defending the heroic lone inventor from the rapacious capitalists. But now all they seem to do is feed lawyers. Ther's no discernable benfit to the user as far as I can see.

    Scrap the lot o' them, I say.

  16. Count Ludwig
    Paris Hilton

    Fantastic Idea!

    "allows websites to add fully-interactive embedded applications to their online offerings through the use of plug-in and AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) web development techniques."

    What a fantastic idea! Can't think why anyone else hasn't thought of that.

    'Cos they're all too busy thinking about Paris, that's why.

  17. Andy 17


    How on earth was this patent ever granted considering the mountain of prior art?

    If the patent was granted in 1998, do java applets and even ActiveX not predate it?

    Software Patents = Cash Cow ready for the milking!

  18. The Indomitable Gall

    I still don't understand...

    I still don't understand why <embed> doesn't count as prior art....

  19. Joe K


    I don't care if the utterly broken US patent system ruins US innovation and imports, but now Texas and the USPTO are going to fuck up the whole internet too?

    Can't we just build in IP->Country detection, so any yanks get a text-only Lynx page format?

    If only someone would demolish the USPTO. Oh but the lawyers have it under their wing completely, and they would never let their cash cow go.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    USPTO's sins come back to haunt them

    I remember a head of a Patent Office saying how many more patents they were issuing and how much *VALUE* they had created as a result of all these new patents.

    Sadly, unfortunately most of the new patents are like this, not inventions, not new, not patentable, they are zero sum games, taking whatever 'value' they get from other inventor companies plus legal costs. This was covered by the 1993 provisional HTML spec, yet was patented in 1998!

    If you are a true inventor, with a true invention, then the patent may help you protect your invention while you commercialize it. But equally, thanks to the PTO's free and easy patent system, it may also rob you of any profit you make on your invention.

    Along comes a patent troll with some vague broad patent written in LEGAL-ese not INVENTOR-ese and snatches away your profit.

    Ahh, but this is why the US economy is the power house (chuckle) of the free(chortle) world. It's an economy built on (LOL) IP rights, and (ROTFLOL) that is why patents add value.

    OK, so maybe that's not the reality, maybe the US has just crippled itself with patent troll lawsuits to the extent that it can never compete now, it will always be spending more on imports than exports.

    They need to get their act together, you cannot create fake value by assigning rights to EXISTING things to companies that don't make and sell things. I know the US was able to sustain the illusion of a pure IP economy for a while, but that was when they were the worlds default currency, effectively any growth was in USD and every one of those dollars was created in the Fed and went through US companies first. That has ended now, and they need to clean up their act.

    (Side rant):

    Here, read Mish's comments, the understand where he misses the crucial point.

    My wifes boss imports goods in $, she pre-sells those goods in Euros. There is a 2-4 month delivery time lag. If the $ goes down during the delivery lag, she wins, she bought cheaper than she expected and sell in Euros. If the $ goes up during that delivery lag she loses, maybe even goes bankrupt. So she does the conversion at order time, and holds USD to cover the payment at delivery time.

    Or at least she did, her Chinese suppliers now price in Euros because the dollar was dropping and they didn't like it. She no longer holds dollars.

    It makes no difference that the forex is instant, the supply of goods is not, and the supply price is agreed at one time with a letter of credit and delivered at a later time with a wire transfer.

    That was fine when USA was a stable currency run properly, but that ended when Cheney decided deficits didn't matter and he was simply going to spend and print as much as he liked.

    USA can no longer rely on being the world currency, and the whole IP rights game was a zero sum. The manufacturer of a product (usually China) and the designers (thankfully some USA, but often Japan or India) are the ones that create the real IP. They have to stop this Cheney 'print money' sh*t and get back to making and selling things. And they need to clean up the USPTO and it's attempts to 'create' value by permitting overlapping duplicate non inventive patents.

    /Capitalist rant.

  21. g e


    Agreed, surely the point of the tag?

  22. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Why is everyone asking about Prior Art?

    The whole point here is that in the early 90s the USPTO decided that...

    Patents wouldn't be checked before granting. You can sort it out in court afterwards if you don't like it.

    Prior Art, far from being an impediment, merely confirms that the idea is workable and therefore counts in your favour.

    First to file wins, so it doesn't have to be your invention.

    The result, predictably, was a land-grab as every IP lawyer in the US rushed to patent everything that wasn't already patented. In the process, the USPTO raked in a small fortune in fees. Large companies aren't too badly affected, because they've built up huge portfolios, so if it looks like they are going to be sued on patent X, they simply threaten to countersue on patent Y, and both parties can clearly see that a cross-licensing deal is the cheaper option. Small companies can't do this, which means the large companies are left comfortably unassailable by anyone capable of real innovation.

    So the lawyers are busy, big business is safe, and the government is rich. What's not to like?

    The *truly* amazing thing is that they managed to persuade every other patent office on the planet (who aren't in on the scam) to continue to honour US patents. I mean, it is quite one thing for the Yanks to break their intellectual property laws for the benefit of a quick buck, but truly stunning that everyone else should break theirs for nothing at all.

  23. John70


    It sounds like any application written using ASP.NET could be affected.

    The application object could refer to the DLL created by ASP.NET to do background processing on the server.

    "After launching the program object, the user is able to interact with the object as the invention provides for ongoing interprocess communication between the application object (program) and the browser program"

  24. Doc Spock

    Ideas should not be patentable

    I'll admit to not having read the details of the '906 patent, but it would appear to be nothing more than an IDEA or VAGUE implementation. Patents should describe detailed implementations which clearly define a very specific (and non-obvious) way of doing something. Thus, if their very specific implementation of content embedding was used, then they would be able to sue. As it stands, they appear to be going after quite arbitrary implementations of content embedding.

    I can only hope that this case is the one which finally stops the USPTO (or any patent office for that matter) granting patents on ideas and vague implementations.

  25. Sam Liddicott


    Because in the US you can keep revising your patent but still keep the original file date.

    10 or so years ago there was a dreadful computer vision patent which was regularly being extended to include the latest in cutting edge that were never thought of when it was first filed.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    paging Mr Orlowski

    To turn up and call everyone freetards for not paying their dues.

  27. Number6

    Area Avoidance

    I wonder what would happen if everyone put on their website that it was a breach of their terms and conditions for anyone in the East District of Texas to view their website? That way, you could subsequently claim that any lawsuit filed there was out of jurisdiction and anyone viewing your website from there was liable to be countersued for breaching your Ts and Cs.

    Although it would be simpler to abolish software patents. They stifle innovation, not encourage it.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    I'll be rich.

    I'm going to patent extortion, then sue all the other patent trolls.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019