Courts Save Internet From Eolas Patent Troll

Courts Save Internet From Eolas Patent Troll

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Michael Doyle, when you say you patented the modern web, do you mean pretty much everything?

Way back in the mists of time, Michael Doyle, then working for the University of California-San Francisco, developed - and later patented, with the University's help - a program that allowed doctors to view embryos online. Doyle later claimed that this 1994 patent was the first interactive use of the world wide web, and everyone else who ever did anything like it - streaming video, say - owed him big time. Doyle set up a company, Eolas, whose sole purpose in life seems to have been to collect a payout; certainly it's never made an actual product. Microsoft settled out of court with Eolas for $100 million, over an Internet Explorer dispute. Similar claims were filed against the likes of Apple, Perot Systems, Blockbuster, eBay, Adobe, Google, Yahoo and Amazon, for something in the region of $1 billion total. Some of those companies settled with Eolas, while others - Google, Amazon, YouTube, Yahoo and JC Penny - did not, and so the trial began. Eolas lost, and appealed. Now the courts have stepped in, and upheld the 2012 judgment against Eolas, denying Doyle's appeal.

Doyle - and his lawyers, of course - have done very well out of patent disputes, at least up till now. Nor has the University been without its cut of the patent profits; the Microsoft out-of-court settlement netted it $30 million, and doubtless that hasn't been the only payout the University saw. Throughout the trial and appeal process Eolas constantly affirmed that it was only asserting "these University of California patents," while the University of California's man in a suit repeated meekly that the University "stands by its licensees." That said, the gravy train seems to have come to a halt; with this appeal denied, there will be no more Eolas payouts, at least not on those patents.

The 2012 judgement lured down Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the internet, to testify. When asked who owns the web, his reply was, "we do." Responds the lawyer, "the web we all own, is it 'interactive'?" To which Berners-Lee replies, "it is pretty interactive, yeah." And so say all of us.

Source: Ars Technica

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And all this time i thought it was Al Gore that invented the internet.
His case was rather Doylie, in that it had so many holes you could see right through it.

Karloff:

The 2012 judgement lured down Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the internet, to testify. When asked who owns the web, his reply was, "we do." Responds the lawyer, "the web we all own, is it 'interactive'?" To which Berners-Lee replies, "it is pretty interactive, yeah." And so say all of us.

Thought that was going to go in a different direction...

Too bad that guy already got his super pay day.

DVS BSTrD:
And all this time i thought it was Al Gore that invented the internet.

He didn't? Tell me, he at the very least did invent the environment and rode the mighty moonworm.

OT: And then Tim Berners-Lee took an awesome exit pill and walked out of the court room like a boss.

Here's hoping to a fire burning down that university. It's pretty sickening to learn of a 1 billion dollar robbery such as this. Which is again why someone needs to take patent law run it through a giant shredder and start over again.

1337mokro:
Here's hoping to a fire burning down that university. It's pretty sickening to learn of a 1 billion dollar robbery such as this. Which is again why someone needs to take patent law run it through a giant shredder and start over again.

IP law in general needs to be burned and then banned. I'd be in favor of a limited form of it, but the problem is that people who profit from it use those profits to expand it every time. At this point about the only kind of IP law I'd support is a constitutional amendment (to make it harder to subvert) that resets all laws on the subject back to the original 1790 copyright law and whatever the equivalent ones are for trademarks and patents every ten years or so. Anything short of that will just get massively corrupted.

Aren't they the same patent trolls behind the 'click to activate this control' scandal for which they extorted millions of dollars from Microsoft?

Amazing to see a judge with common sense. It's a good thing some fresh blood is coming in slowly, maybe we'll see the end of ignoramuses in the legal system eventually and a real overhaul of digital patent law.

Seriously, the idea that someone can patent 'a method to put virtual items in a shopping cart', or 'rounded corners', is madness.

 

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