back to article Eolas claims royalties for browser apps and plug-ins

Eolas Technologies has begun its trial against Adobe over two patents that, it claims, gives it the rights to embedded browser applications and plug-in and AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) web development techniques. The case, which began this week in the notoriously patent-happy US District Court for the Eastern …

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  1. Tasogare
    FAIL

    On the plus side...

    Maybe if they win, we'll see a move away from crappy Web apps to slightly less-crappy native apps, instead of the cram-everything-through-http, screw-sane-UIs thing we have now.

    ...but I still hope they lose, because this is ridiculous.

    1. Aaron Em
      Thumb Up

      "Slightly less crappy"

      I like your sense of humor!

    2. Goat Jam

      Actually

      I hope they win.

      It is necessary that these ludicrous patents start to hurt the tech incumbants as well as come to public prominence so that pressure can builds for the system as a whole to get the massive overhaul that it so desperately requires.

      1. John G Imrie

        I hope they win too

        Just before next years US Football Super Bowl.

        Imagine the screams when all those web enabled TV's go blank 30 minutes before kick off.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buying Ideas

    So, did Eolas actually come up with this idea themselves in 1998? With actual example code? Or did they just buy in the patent from someone else?

    Meanwhile... do BT still own the patent for the Hyperlink? Or has that been sold on yet? That patent should pay for a whole new broadband infrastructure for the UK.

    Last thought... if Eolas win this case, I assume this is only relevant to the USA. So Web Apps get banned in the US and the rest of the world carries on as normal.

    Hopefully this case just brings up how stupid and selfish the whole patent system has become.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is one thing to own an idea or IP. It is entirely a different matter to get paid for it when it is used.

      Even if BT owned it - and they may - how would/could they possibly enforce royalty payments.

      You're absolutely right though, in its current form the patent law system offers protection only to those big enough to win or with a backer who has sufficient funds and you have a risk assessed case.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Err okay USA, please put down the patents, you can't be trusted to behave responsibly with them. The rest of the world should just sign an agreement to ignore crazy US patents, it worked out for the US oh so long ago.

    1. Captain Save-a-ho
      Coat

      There I fixed it

      it worked out for China oh so long ago

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        corrections

        For half the Far East now, for the USA right up until the balance of profit changed. Just read Dickens and others about the iniquity of USA citizens making millions out of non-American writing and inventions and refusing to pay up on grounds of "freedom of expression" among others, or just straight plagiarism and theft - thus was USA technological greatness built.

  4. jubtastic1

    The article seems to imply

    That the EDT courtroom is selling favourable rulings in exchange for businesses investing in the state, that surely can't be the case can it?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Maybe it's time for mandatory round-robin or random allocation of courts to cases where applicant and defendant don't agree? Or at least to "neutral" courts selected by neither? It works for referees in sports matches...

    2. John G Imrie

      No it's not the courts

      It's the politicians writing laws in exchange for businesses investing in the state.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Texans

      Living proof that the early settlers liked to fuck buffalo.

  5. Ben 42
    Thumb Down

    “Contrary to what Defendants may believe, many businesses choose to relocate to Texas and to Tyler, Texas each year for reasons that are unrelated to venue. Eolas points out the tax benefits it receives in Texas, and additionally, many people find that Tyler is a wonderful place to live and work."

    Congratulations, you just overloaded my bullshit detector. I can't picture him saying this as anything other than a cheesy movie villain who's pretending to play nice while he waits to unveil his grand plan for world domination.

    1. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      Actually my take on that was slightly different.

      I felt that he had just demonstrated that he was totally unfit to hear the case. If his response to an appeal with regard to the location of the trial is based in part on his feelings of what we can call "local nationalism" I cannot see how he is a fit person to rule on this case. Given that he openly gives decisions based on criteria other than the law. Some "judge", hmm?

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Mushroom

        Well I thought that Mugabe's bought-and-paid-for judges were the most bent in the world.

        Thank you Texas for proving me wrong.

  6. Christoph Silver badge
    Flame

    "University of California (part owner of Eolas)"

    Then the University of California should be bloody ashamed of itself.

    "many businesses choose to relocate to Texas and to Tyler, Texas each year for reasons that are unrelated to venue."

    Such as the ease of landing their flying pigs at the local airport.

  7. Keep Refrigerated
    Flame

    The more I hear about the southern states...

    The more I don't want to visit them, neither business nor pleasure. There's not a chance they'll ever receive any of my investment money or tourrarism dollars if I have any say in the matter.

    1. P Saunders

      Tourrarism?

      Is that sorta like combining terrorism with tourism? Maybe that's what Leigh Van Bryan had in mind.

  8. jai
    Trollface

    Welcome to Tyler, home to the world’s largest rose garden, and to the world's largest patent trolls.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well of course

      Everything is bigger in Texas

  9. ~mico
    FAIL

    patent for ajax and plugins

    wait, did they invent iframes and ActiveX as well? Because ActiveX were interactive applications... capable of using embedded information, and iframes are still used instead of ajax sometimes.

    I distinctly remember using both technologies before 1997.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But Eolas' was filed in 1994..

      Filing date: Oct 17, 1994 by Original Assignee: The Regents of the University of California

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        The concept of "plugins" has been around since (at least) 1991.

        Photoshop introduced them in its v2.0 release. It is very clearly an "obvious" feature for other software, including web browsers. Plugins were all the rage at the time.

        The term "hypermedia document" could easily include any multimedia application of the day, including those early interactive CD-ROMs. Projects like the BBC's own "Domesday Book" (using Laserdisc technology) in the mid-80s may also include enough examples to prove prior art.

        Apple's own "HyperCard" (and variants) also predates the WWW by some years and allowed execution of other applications through "Externals" (a synonym for "plugin"). Hypercard was released in 1987, so there's definitely prior art there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          OLE?

          That's been around since the Win3.x era. Would it count?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Win 3.x? Loadable shared libraries date back to PDP-11 days.

  10. Greg J Preece

    "The practical impact of withholding unrestricted access to the patented technology from use by the Web community will be to substantially impair the usability of the Web for hundreds of millions of individuals in the United States and around the world."

    Around the world? Which two shits are we supposed to give about the US' latest patent balls-up?

    1. Ru

      Because companies often do with may countries,

      they will often go for the 'lowest common denominator' approach because making a US version and a Rest Of The World version is a bit too expensive. Thus we all suffer from software patents, because many potential vendors and coders must abide by them.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Judge is a liar or an idiot - you decide.

    "many businesses choose to relocate to Texas and to Tyler, Texas each year for reasons that are unrelated to venue"

    No, they don't.

  13. Ilgaz

    Someone should support him

    I am really concerned about Sir Lee since these are the things which an academic like him should never live. I mean being dragged to some little Texas town/ village whatever for some liar troll who accomplished nothing in their life.

    The Wired report and the comments below it about the town atmosphere really alerted me. Says he was shaken etc.

    Mr. Lee isn't rms or esr, these guys are really used to the scumbag industry tactics. Even Ballmer is a better person to stand at that Court but not a idealist like Lee.

  14. Identity
    Pirate

    Tyler, TX

    Readers might find listening to the "This American Life" episode "When Patents Attack" <http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack>. Among the other revelations, Tyler, TX is the home of a large office building just down the street from the courthouse, which contains a huge number of empty offices belonging to patent trolls, just so they can claim presence.

    The rose garden is an interesting touch, because otherwise the only industry in Tyler is patent lawsuits. It is a tiny town which, unbelievably, has a Federal Court. This is far from normal...

    1. Tom 13

      Nothing abnormal about it.

      It happens to be the county seat, county seats are good candidates for US District Courts, and most 'Merkins prefer government toadies to be as far away from them as possible.

      As for it being the only industry in Tyler, given a population of 109,000+ and that none of their top 10 employers are law firms or lobbyists, you must be thinking of some other Tyler, Texas.

      I'm not normally a fan of Wiki, but this is actually the sort of thing they are decent at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyler,_Texas

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