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Microsoft Nailed by Software Patent

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the software-patents-dangerous-to-everyone dept.

Microsoft 668

An anonymous reader writes "It was just announced that Microsoft lost the case where it was accused of violating Eolas' patent on embedded applications in the Internet Explorer browser. They have been fined $521 million in damages."

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668 comments

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Another Reason? (-1, Insightful)

sethadam1 (530629) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672315)

Isn't this just one more reason to use MozillaFirebird [mozilla.org] ?

Re:Another Reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672324)

No, actually I don't see how it effects end users at all.

Re:Another Reason? (1)

tuba_dude (584287) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672368)

I don't either, but it might Affect end users. In any case, you could always make a (rather weak) political statement by using Firebird.

Re:Another Reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672474)

Actually this is a developer resource and therefore not referring to end users. Some of us on Slashdot do develop, you know.

Super (-1)

Mr. Troll (202208) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672372)

Yeah, just some other no name company sitting on a patent waiting for someone to do something with it......then skimming profits.....this is the kind of things that killlllls delelopment

Re:Super (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672407)

what is this "delelopment" you talk of? it sounds interesting, and my company may be interested in paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in buying the rights for it.

Re:Another Reason? (4, Insightful)

weeeee (196575) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672328)

Don't almost all browsers use plug-ins? This could be bad for Mozilla as well.

Re:Another Reason? (1)

shird (566377) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672337)

No, why would it be? IE is free, and this affects only Microsoft not the end users.

Re:Another Reason? (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672341)

Why?

Re:Another Reason? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672343)

maybe its just me, but i don't get why this is insightful. there are plenty of reasons to use mozilla/firebird. but how is this one of them?

Re:Another Reason? (4, Funny)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672346)

"Isn't this just one more reason to use MozillaFirebird?"

If I were looking to up my karma, then yes.

Timothy Nailed by Michael (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672316)

While CmdrTaco watches (one-handed)

fp (-1, Offtopic)

dklon (561205) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672319)

fp

Ouwww (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672320)

Ouwwww

It's amazing.. (5, Funny)

Plix (204304) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672322)

A little patent-portfolio company did in one suit what the Fed couldn't in 5 years.

Re:It's amazing.. (0, Offtopic)

bedouin (248624) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672413)

Why was this modded down?

Re:It's amazing.. (2, Funny)

dago (25724) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672436)

you mean get rich and retire ?

Re:It's amazing.. (3, Insightful)

realdpk (116490) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672445)

Which of the Fed's patents did Microsoft violate, exactly? I was under the impression it was an anti-trust case.

Re:It's amazing.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672482)

He means fuck them up the ass in a court of law, not the other way around. His whole point had nothing to do with patent law. You are truly obtuse.

The feds ruled MS a monopoly that broke laws. They imposed no penalties, nor did they impose remedies. This little company just sucked half a billion out of them and were right to do so.

See Microsoft, what goes around comes around. You help SCO fuck linux, and when you're not looking, someone else fucks YOU.

Re:It's amazing.. (1)

cyril3 (522783) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672457)

Is it a patent portfolio company? Sounded more like the originator to me though I haven't looked further. Just the way it's worded.

Re:It's amazing.. (5, Informative)

ar32h (45035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672493)

Eolas [eolas.com] is not a patent profolio company by a long shot, they are a pure R&D [eolas.com] company.
You can see some of the things thay have patented here [eolas.com] .
I seem to recall a article [pbs.org] where the founder of Eolas was talking about a patent war against Microsoft, not because they wanted royalties but because they objected to the I.E.ization of the web.
Notice that Eolas is going after Microsoft, not Sun or Mozilla.
Standard practice for patent profolio companies is to prey on the weaker first. Eolas went after the main standard breaker with their lawsuit. I think this should give us some hope about Eolas's intentions.

Peanuts (1, Insightful)

OvErRiDeX (324498) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672323)

Unfortunately that much money's a drop in the bucket for microsoft

Re:Peanuts (5, Interesting)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672349)

That's half a billion dollars. I think Microsoft has, what, 40 billion? You can argue they still have 39.5, but losing about 1.3% of their reserves on a podunk little company with a silly 'ol lawsuit is still an important message.

Like someone else said, that's more than the Justice Department was able to do in 5 years.

Re:Peanuts (1)

baximus (552800) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672396)

Like someone else said, that's more than the Justice Department was able to do in 5 years.

Makes one wonder whether the Justice Dept was working as hard as they could have been. Just my $0.02

Re:Peanuts (1)

dicepackage (526497) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672429)

You might care if you worked at Microsoft and had to be laid off because of this lawsuit. You can argue that this sort of thing only takes funds away from the executives. Unfortunetly it is the people with the low paying jobs that will be suffering the effects of this the most.

Re:Peanuts (5, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672454)

I'm assuming this is a troll, but I'll bite anyway - layoffs occur when structural changes are made to a business. Nobody sees a tangible difference in how Microsoft would do business as a result of this. They'll probably just tie this up in appeals for the next several years anyway, ensuring happy employment for lots of hard-working, blue collar lawyer types...

Re:Peanuts (4, Informative)

chunkwhite86 (593696) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672376)

Unfortunately that much money's a drop in the bucket for microsoft

Actually, half a billion isn't a "drop in the bucket" even for M$. M$ has quarterly revenues of roughly US$12 Billion.

That's 4 percent of their quarterly revenue which is not an insignificant number for the corporate accounting types.

But then again, M$ does have ~US$48 Billion in cash reserves. So I guess it is just a drop.

Re:Peanuts (1)

SubjunctiveSam (669606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672432)

Consider also that revenue != profit. So yeah, I say it is certainly going to sting some.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672329)

LMFAO!
http://fuckyouall.com

Re:out of context random starwars quote post (0, Funny)

handybundler (232934) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672375)

<darthvader>
"YOU HAVE FAILED"
</darthvader>

Great! (5, Funny)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672330)

This means there will probably just be another IE service pack that breaks more web pages....

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

Mr. Troll (202208) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672392)

Yeah, just some other no name company sitting on a patent waiting for someone to do something with it......then skimming profits.....this is the kind of things that killlllls delelopment

Patent whores who just sit around and WAIT for someone to sue.....heaven FORBID they actuall DO anything with their patent.....no, just sit and wait...just like SCO....just like those creeps who screwed EBAY....THIS is the problem with the web today

So Eolas invented COM and ActiveX (5, Interesting)

pr0ntab (632466) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672332)

I don't think so. Have you seen the invocation of some embedded applets in IE? Nothing like Netscape.

I have my feelings against Microsoft, but this smells like being in the right place at the right time, and PTO's own trademarked brand of ignorance.

What's it got to do with the PTO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672391)

They lost in court.

Approval of Patents means squat if it's overturned in court.

Re:So Eolas invented COM and ActiveX (4, Insightful)

shird (566377) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672439)

If you have a read of the patent, youll agree it is one of those broad catch all going to try milk this later type of patents.... I also think that if they could get money out of MS, then Netscape, shockwave, ICQ, and many others are all to come.

Damnit! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672334)

I just bought stock in MS too! :( At least it's first post! :)

Re:Damnit! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672488)

You're not doing so well today are you?

A Half Billion: (2, Insightful)

Farley Mullet (604326) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672335)

The dream of a lifetime for you and me, pretty near statistically insignificant for Microsoft.

Re: A Half Billion: (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672370)


> The dream of a lifetime for you and me, pretty near statistically insignificant for Microsoft.

Yeah, they probably 'lose' more than that due to rounding errors when they run up their reports.

Re:A Half Billion: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672459)

THIS IS NOT INSIGHTFUL, IT'S WRONG.

YEARLY REVENUE: ~$50 BILLION = 1% OF YEARLY REVENUE

CASH RESERVE: ~$50 BILLION = 1% OF CASH RESERVE

IN EITHER CASE: 1% IS NOT "PRETTY NEAR STATISTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT"

Re:A Half Billion: (4, Informative)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672479)

The dream of a lifetime for you and me, pretty near statistically insignificant for Microsoft.
Funny you should mention that, my mother-in-law is one of the 100 private Eolas investors :P

Although this news is great, there is still quite a fight ahead. An appellate judge will decide in the upcoming weeks if the appeal has merrit. If so, it could drag on for years. In that case, Microsoft will likely settle for much less. The one thing I noticed about the trial that might give MS grounds for appeal is the trial judge instructed the jury not to weigh testimony from Pei Wei, a fellow who claims to have prior art. If the judge handled that innapropriately, MS could have grounds for appeal.

It could go either way for MS, though and they may get spanked harder than you think. This is only one of several cases. Eolas is also filing separate suits against MS for Windows sales between 2001 and present day and sales before the scope of the current trial. Also, other makers of browsers and plug-ins may find themselves involved in litigation with Eolas very soon!

PWNED! (-1, Flamebait)

Phosphor3k (542747) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672336)

Looks like they need to hire Developers that actually Develop, instead of infringe.

amount will be reduced (1, Insightful)

stonebeat.org (562495) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672338)

offcourse the amount will be reduced when MS files a petition.....

Whoa... (1)

invisi (531162) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672339)

This has got to be the first Lawsuit M$ has lost!

Re:Whoa... (3, Informative)

kevinz (591587) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672398)

Ummmmmm. No. Microsoft has lost a numeber of similiar suits. In the end it hasn't made any difference. Remember Stac and their disk compression software? Seems like someone called Spyglass also won a lawsuit alleging M$ infringement on their web tech. And of course there is always the DR Dos / Novell / Caldera suit that was settled last year. Microsoft loses all the time, but with multiple monopolies they can afford to lose from time to time. Half a billion. That's what, .5% of their current cash reserves (after they just paid out 10 Billion to stockholders)?

521Million? (0, Redundant)

BenTheDewpendent (180527) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672342)

Thats all? that is a nice chunk of change but why not go for something with a B in it when going up a agains a giant such as MS who is worth several Billion.

Re:521Million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672382)

The prez of the company suing MS originally wanted $1.2B

Re:521Million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672385)

The amount was set by Judge Dr. Evil.

Re:521Million? (1)

agm (467017) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672393)

They did go for something with a B in it according to the articla.

Let me save everyone some time... (1)

qbproger (467459) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672344)

There are going to be a bunch of people yelling about microsoft getting bit by software patents.

There will be the people yelling that we shouldn't be for patents when they are against microsoft.

In the end we will come to the same resolution... Software patents, and microsoft... both bad.

Re:Let me save everyone some time... (3, Insightful)

zinkem (679064) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672365)

Microsoft supports patents, if they get bit in the ass by some patent laws why should anyone care? You reap what you sow :)

Im so confused!!!!!! (5, Funny)

slash-tard (689130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672345)

Microsoft = bad

Patents = bad

So is this good? Must be some sort of paradox if so...

Re:Im so confused!!!!!! (4, Insightful)

mpthompson (457482) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672387)

Microsoft = bad
Patents = bad

So is this good?

I forget where, but it has been said that two wrongs don't make a right, just even.

Re:Im so confused!!!!!! (2, Funny)

GreatOgre (75402) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672468)

two wrongs don't make a right

No, but three rights make a left :)

Well, then.... (3, Insightful)

SubjunctiveSam (669606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672463)

I don't know if this helps at all, but according to the transitive property of equality, that means we can conclude that Microsoft = Patents!

Think about that for a while.

Then, moderate this post up as insightful.

Sounds familiar (-1, Offtopic)

NaDrew (561847) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672351)

2003-08-12 02:12:38 Jury orders Microsoft to pay $520 million (articles,patents) (rejected)

Re:Sounds familiar (0, Offtopic)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672383)

"Posted by michael on Monday August 11, @08:58PM"

"2003-08-12 02:12:38 Jury orders Microsoft to pay $520 million (articles,patents) (rejected)"

What, you submitted the story after it was posted?

Re:Sounds familiar (2, Funny)

Poofat (675020) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672401)

Obviously, you were rejected because you rounded the 520.6 million down instead of up.

If I only had a dollar... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672353)

for every copy of windoze from 1994 to 2001.

Re:If I only had a dollar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672437)

Excuse me, $1.47 for each copy of windoze from 1998 to 2001. Then I'd have $521MM.

hmmm (5, Insightful)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672358)

Patents on the simple idea of plug-ins and applets? This seems almost as ridiculous as the amazon patent [gnu.org] on one click purchasing.

Re:hmmm (1)

BJZQ8 (644168) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672395)

I once worked for a company that held a patent on "hierarchal" custom construction in software applications, as in Dell and Gateway online configurators (or cars, or houses, or widgets, etc...)...where your subsequent choices are limited by your previous ones...Don't know if they ever collected, but at one time they had lots of hope they would get millions...

So what does that amount to? (1)

Soporific (595477) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672362)

About a weeks worth of work for Bill Gates or Paul Allen?

I'm not an MS hater, but I think it's the truth.

~S

just have to say it...! (1)

agent2 (628468) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672465)

I killed Paul Allen with an axe, in the face!
American Psycho is the best movie ever.

I've seen it 4 times. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672495)

"Hey Paul! yaaaaaah!" *shunk*

"Try getting a reservation at Dorcia now, you fucking stupid bastard!"

Comforting thought..... (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672366)


If anybody can bust this patent, it's microsoft. They have 521 million reasons to.

Anybody know? (1)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672369)

Does this have to do with Netscape Style Plugin support, or ActiveX or... what? Any idea?

Hard to know what to feel. (5, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672371)

I dislike Microsoft but I still don't see that this helps the development community or users at all. Software patents are stupid and a bad idea.. even when being used against that monopoly we love to hate. Anyone with an interest in the freedom of developers to develop what they want and the freedom of users to choose the best product for their needs can't see this as anything but a loss.

Re:Hard to know what to feel. (2, Informative)

Manic Ken (678260) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672431)

Hear hear!!
Second that! I listened to RMS in india (the recording, not me...but that would have been cool), and The Man is brilliant. It is also funny, especially the idiots that doesn't get it...lol, anyhow, here [sslug.dk] is a link I found with the speech in ogg.

And in other news... (5, Funny)

Scalli0n (631648) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672373)

From the article: "Eolas had argued that the technology for "plug-ins" and "applets" made it possible for Microsoft to compete against the Netscape Navigator browser."

In other news, SCO has also sued Mozilla for the use of "HTML" and "JavaScript" which have made it possible to be used by more than one person...

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672461)

HAHAHA

MOD PARENT UP!!

INSIGHTFUL +7 FUNNY +2 !!!

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

well im just tryin to say that Scalli0n is FUCKING HILarious.

Categories for this article explained... (5, Funny)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672378)

You may have noticed that this article seemingly falls into 7 different categories. Let me break them down for you so you can see for yourself how each one applies to this insightful article.

Firstly, the Bill-Gates-As-Cyborg is representative of Microsoft being fucked.

Secondly, the IE icon with the broken halo is representative of Microsoft falling from grace.

Thirdly, the circuitboard was just misclick by Taco.

Fourthly, the patent pending icon is representative of Cyborg-Bill being stabbed in the back by a rusty spoon.

Fifthly, the hat on briefcase thing also represents Microsoft being fucked.

Sixthly, the internet thing represents my posting this on slashdot about Microsoft being fucked.

Lastly, the newspaper icon represents joe sixpack reading in weekly world news tomorrow that Microsoft is being fucked.

In Summary... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672381)

Boo: Overbroad Patents!
Boo: This patent is stupid!
Boo: Microsoft in general!
Yay: Microsoft has to pay money!
Boo: It's too little money!
Solution to this:
Yay: Mozilla!
Yay: Slashdot!

Peanuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672400)

"They have been fined $521 million in damages."

Peanuts

Before you start bitching about slashdot users... (5, Insightful)

Dalroth (85450) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672402)

Before you start bitching about Slashdot user's being hypocrites, keep in mind that Slashdot is a community filled with 1000's of a users who all have very different opinions on everything.

I do not support this ruling, because I do not support patents in any way shape or form. That does not mean the Slashdot community as a whole feels the same.

In fact, it's very hard to determine just what it is the Slashdot community DOES believe, because more often than not it's the negativity that makes it through the ranking system more than anything else.

Some people will call this a great victory for Open Source. I don't. I think it's a travesty, but that's my opinion and mine alone. Other's may or may not agree, but please don't let one person's opinion spoil your view of the entire community.

Bryan

Re:Before you start bitching about slashdot users. (4, Funny)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672430)

Your post is completely and utterly worthless. Mine is of similar caliber.

Bad precedent (5, Insightful)

Eloquence (144160) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672409)

Software patents being enforced are always a bad precedent, no matter against whom. Hopefully, big corporations will wake up to the patent scam, which primarily benefits lawyers and idea pirates. Innovation does not come from patents, according to Cisco's VP of "Intellectual Property". He stated in an interview [cisco.com] :

Patents don't stimulate innovation, they capture and protect innovation. My experience at Cisco is that the ability to get patents is not what inspires new developments. Instead, competition has been the major stimulus of innovation at Cisco. Our engineering teams are motivated by the desire to quickly turn their ideas into products and services that customers want, solutions that will help our customers improve their productivity. They don't ask "can we patent this?" before deciding whether to create new solutions.

In order to "capture and protect" innovation, companies register more and more patents each year [heise.de] , often just to prevent others from suing them. But some companies register patents for the sole purpose of engaging in legal warfare -- a risky gamble with potentially huge prizes.

The biggest danger inherent in software patents is to free software. Megacorporations can easily collect thousands of patents on trivial processes to use against open source programmers who have little means to defend themselves. Wait for Microsoft and others to attack on this front -- that would be nice extra FUD fodder with all the SCO crap going on right now. To ignore software patents as Linus Torvalds does is the wrong approach. They must be eliminated entirely.

Wow! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672410)

Immagine a Bewulf cluster of those!

p.s., can't get to windowsupdate.com

And Java applets in Navigator are not prior art? (5, Insightful)

notAyank (597271) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672415)

Can somebody explain this to me? How can this patent exist when in 1998 there were applets / plugins running inside Netscape Navigator doing all the things the patented method does:
  1. They were embedded in the "hypermedia" document
  2. They could communicate with the browser
  3. They could communicate with the server (at least by using sockets and datagrams)
  4. By doing this they were "providing the user of the client computer with interactive features and allowing the user to have access to greater computing power than may be available at the user's client computer."
Sorry, but I think MS should be in the clear here.

Re:And Java applets in Navigator are not prior art (4, Insightful)

Chris Parrinello (1505) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672444)

Umm... the patent was filed in 1994 before Mosaic or event Netscape had plugins?

I'm Confused (2, Funny)

Drakonian (518722) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672416)

Monday is Microsoft hating day. But Tuesday is patent-hating day. Well, since it was posted at 11:58 EST I guess I'll stick with Microsoft hating.

Stupid Microsoft! J00 G0+ 0W#3D! Thatt'll show you to write crappy code! Now you have to PAY. MUHAHAHAHAH.

Hello (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672418)

My name is Gunther Wheeler and I sell automobiles. This company called "pimpidest" began taking in my brand of cars from customers without my knowledge and installing pimp carpetting. Later they got this idea patented. We thought "hey, it's our car, we can do whatever we want with it" - so we began putting in our own pimp carpetting. Someone figured we aren't allowed to do anything with our own cars since it was already pattented, so we got fined $64 Billion.

true story.

Software patents (1)

ignavus (213578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672419)

Losing a case about software patents is something I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy ... hang on, it's MS ... hmm, let me think about this a little.

$521 million? To MS? (3, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672420)

Can you say, 'Rounding Error'?

I knew you could.

Re:$521 million? To MS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672475)

Can you say 4% of quarterly revenue?

most other browsers are in violation as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672421)

its just that microsoft is the only company they thought they could get money out of. but wait and see, open source browsers will be next. this is a very general patent that basically encompasses every well-featured browser in existence.

The large payout... (1)

lysium (644252) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672422)

...is a great indication of what the public at large thinks of Microsoft, if nothing else. Even if a tedious appeals process somehow whittles the 521 down to something less painful (and painful that is, even with cash reserves), the message has still been sent that even the varied population that forms a jury of peers is ready to punish, even when our business-friendly Government (Administration?) is not.

----------

Link to patent (5, Informative)

dze (89612) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672425)

Link to the actual patent [uspto.gov] .

I'm not much at reading patents but this looks like the usual silly IT patent that could apply to just about anything. Can't see this as a good thing at all.

So (4, Interesting)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672426)

$521,000,000 USD isn't much to Microsoft. They probably have 8 times this amount saved up for legal issues anyways. In the end, Microsoft is going to pull an IBM on this company and make them sorry for ever suing them. Whoever had the balls to do this to Microsoft probably won't be around much longer.

Just look at the political careers of all the *major* politicians that were invloved in the original MS anti-trust case. If they didn't politically stagnate then MS made them go away - quietly, and expensively.

Monopolies can not be brought down with small lawsuits anymore. It will take a vast reversal in public opinion, many brave and ambitious politicians, and some fierce competition. So far we have 1 out of 3.

errr.. ya.. (1)

kmak (692406) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672433)

And how much MS make a year again? I bet they just laugh.. seriously, I bet to be asses, they'll appeal just so they can run up the lawyer fees of the other company..

umm... (1)

Starji (578920) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672434)

"We're confident the facts will support our position." They obvoiusly didn't the first time :-P

Great News (3, Interesting)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672446)

This is the best news that I've heard for a while.

Why, you ask?

Because, my friends, Microsoft is now going to spends billions to kill the current patent system. They're going to buy every Congressman from Alaska to Puerto Rico to shut this scam down. Bill Gates is going to spend so much on politicians that they'll still be standing in line to give him blow jobs twenty years from now. After Microsoft is finished, the only debate will be whether to use the patent authority building for Total Information Awareness Headquarters or turn it into a Fritz Chip manufacturing plant.

Software Patents Blow... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6672447)

Time to get rid of them. Period. These cases get more and more ridiculous every week. Whatever happened to making money by doing something? I guess it's much easier to "invent" a half-assed technology, patent it, and then sit around and wait for someone to do something similar.

Fuck these patents, and fuck all these damn IP laywers too.

Improvement in tech-patent news (2, Informative)

dpille (547949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672448)

The patent in question is U.S. Patent No. 5,838,906, granted in 1998.

I follow the patent stories here all the time, and I'm used to trying to take the scattered details of whatever news service we're linking to to find the actual patents. Just wanted to point out that it's refreshing to find a major information source using actual patent nos.

patent warchests (5, Insightful)

mitomac (167890) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672460)

IBM, Microsoft, Apple all have giant patent portfolios. When a small company like Eolas can nail microsoft for a patent violation it does not bode well for linux. If IBM can b*tch slap SCO with patent violations regarding hierarchial graphical menus. What is to stop them or any other patent hoarder from making the same claim against linux? Currently, these companies refrain from suing each other because they know the other company likely has patents they are violating...But what ace in the hole patents does linux have up its sleeve?

mitomac

Isn't Free Software Vunerale as Well? (4, Informative)

femto (459605) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672481)

What's to stop the company from going after Mozilla authors as well, or authors of any other free software program that uses plugins?

Also, from the article:

"We believe the evidence will ultimately show that there was no infringement of any kind, and that the accused feature in our browser technology was developed by our own engineers based on preexisting Microsoft technology."

Isn't that irrelevant, and why software patents are 'evil'? It doesn't matter whether your work was completely independent. If it is patented, your stuffed.

Having said that though, check out the case Frearson v Loe, dated 1878 (google is your friend). I gather (in my naive IANAL way) that it is an often quoted precedent. The case determined that non-commercial experimentation is okay, even in the face of patents. Can writing free software be considered to be an experiment?

They deserve it all and here's why (1)

agent2 (628468) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672483)

I believe that this just goes to show that at least someone on the court system isn't afraid to hit Microsoft with a half-billion fine for their 'infringement.' I am not for certain but if the patent-of-debate is for "plugins", regardless how many elite, if you can say that at all, technologies microsoft 'created' such as ActiveX, they are still stealing the idea from the patent. So I think Microsoft deserves every penny.

Eolas's biggest product to date (1)

Humba (112745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672484)

True story (I've met some of the company's employees):

Eolas, the company that won the judgement's best selling product to date was the IP license for the curley "e" logo (like the @ sign w/ an e) that they sold to IBM for use in the IBM "e-business" logo.

--H

DON'T USE SO MANY CAPS` (-1)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | more than 11 years ago | (#6672490)

it's like GETTING A BLOWJOB from MICHAEL after you PUNCHED his DECAYING TEETH down his UGLY CANCER-RIDDLED THROAT!
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