Updated 2012-02-21 07:24:18 by AMG

Along with Using Tcl to write WWW client side applications, Eolas [1] is well known for inventing the Web plugin/applet platform, and the associated patent that they're currently enforcing against Microsoft [2].

As of 9/2007, the Eolas v. Microsoft case has been settled, with Microsoft licensed under the Eolas 906 patent [3].

As of 2009 Oct, Eolas has been awarded a patent that extends the previous one. [4]

"Texas-based Eolas Technologies, which won a patent case against Microsoft in 2003, is suing nearly two dozen companies – including Apple, Google, and Yahoo – for infringing on that same patent, as well as another that deals with embedded applications."

Creator of Muse

Sponsor of several OSS projects:

Developer of the Eolas WebRouser [6] [7], which was cited by Robert X. Cringely as invalidating prior art [8] for the infamous SBC Web patent. Cringely in other columns has written about how Eolas "is mopping the floor" in its judicial encounters with Microsoft, by which he means that the company is winning court cases--maybe big and important ones.

... in 2003, news.org reports they have won! [9] (Well, subject to appeal).

The W3C has issued this statement on the subject: http://www.w3.org/2003/08/patent.

And Eolas has issued this response: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,4149,1304252,00.asp

Jacob Levy Sep 15, 2003: Ray Ozzie of Visicalc and Groove fame [10] thinks he has prior art invalidating Eolas's claim.

But it appears clear that his claims don't hold water: [11], [12] and [13].

Oct 31, 2003: the debate rages on - here are two new c|net articles (at one time, c|net used the Tcl version of Vignette - does it still do that?) [14] [15] http://chronicle.com/prm/daily/2003/11/2003111801n.htm

In January, 2004, US District Court reaffirms the jury decision against Microsoft: http://www.computerworld.com/newsletter/0,4902,89086,00.html?nlid=AM

In February, 2004, here's a blog discussing the fact that the patent is being reexamined in a prior art claim [16]. These articles [17] [18], however, strongly suggest that the reexamination process will be futile, since the "prior art" that's been claimed was actually presented to the jury in the Microsoft trial.

In March, 2004, the patent claim is "initially-rejected": [19] [20] but the decision may not be final. Actualy, an initial rejection is the routine first step of a patent reexamination. The examiner puts up a straw man, consisting of the arguments presented, in this case, by the W3C, and then the inventor has an opportunity to rebut it. On May 11, 2004, Eolas submitted its rebuttal. [21] [22]

Here's a mid-2004 article providing yet another person's opinion on the current state [23]. Note: this writer testified at the trial, and was thoroughly discredited on the stand as a rabid anti-patent activist.

In August, 2004, things continue to roll along: Slashdot reports that USPTO rejects all 10 patent claims: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/08/19/0036217 MS files brief asking the infringement judgement be overturned based on Pei Wei's alleged prior art http://news.com.com/Microsoft+appeals+Eolas+decision/2100-1032_3-5228882.html. eWEEK points out that the latest USPTO office action withdraws the rejection of claims which was based upon Berners-Lee's and Raggett's arguments, and cites a new reference that the examiner wants Eolas to respond to: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1638113,00.asp. As a result, the latest action is actually a major victory for Eolas, rather than a Microsoft win as many press reports have suggested.

http://patentlaw.typepad.com/patent/2004/08/eolas_reexam_of.html. Quote: "After a reader e-mailed, I looked into the case a little more. Although I am not completely familiar with the case, the headline of the OA could be "Eolas wins Round I of Highly Anticipated Re-Examination." In the most recent OA, the Examiner accepted Eolas' argument as to the initial ground for rejection -- thus, according to the Examiner, the combination of references cited in the original application do not render the patent obvious."

http://patentlaw.typepad.com/patent/2004/08/contrary_to_med.html. Quote: "Apparently, the original reexamination plea by Tim Berners-Lee's plea did not contain any new prior art. Rather, the parties involved (Microsoft, et. al.) had provided the USPTO with the same prior art weeks before Berners-Lee's W3C submission. Download Microsoft's Original Submission (PDF)[24]. Download W3C Subsequent Submission (PDF)[25]." In fact, the Microsoft-drafted document appears to be the initial draft of the Berners-Lee document.

Also see http://www.linuxworld.com/story/46133.htm for an example of the recent Microsoft-slanted spin on this that has appeared in the press.

At the end of 2004, Eolas goes back to court with Microsoft: http://news.com.com/Eolas%2C+Microsoft+make+their+case--again/2100-1032-5483373.html?part=dht&tag=ntop&tag=nl.e433

In early 2005, News.org reports: Appeals court revisits Eolas decision - [a] federal appeals court partially reversed a lower-court decision that had exposed Microsoft to $565 million in damages.


The decision in Eolas v. Microsoft may be found at http://fedcir.gov/opinions/04-1234.pdf

During early 2006, http://www.fusionauthority.com/News/4604-The-ActiveX-Change-What-Does-This-Mean-for-You-Updated.htm discusses the fact that Microsoft has begun an effort to change the way it handles certain types of embedded objects, and speculates reasons for this move. There are URL references at the end of this article bringing the timeline up to date. http://www.emailbattles.com/archive/battles/ip_aadahdadhj_jf/ - I wonder how long this URL will be valid - is dated March 8, 2006 and talks some more about the Microsoft moves.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Burnette/?p=71&tag=nl.e540 is a blog entry comparing TiVO's patent efforts and Eolas (and others) and trying to put a spin on why journalists tend to support TiVO's patent effort while condemning others. I frankly think that it is more an attempt to justify inconsistent behavior...

Check out Slashdot for ongoing debates on the subject - such as [26] Computerworld covers Microsoft changing in acknowledgement of the patent: [27]

In March, 2005, Microsoft tries to push the Eolas case further: [28]

September 27, 2005: The U.S. Patent Office upholds the Eolas patent, declaring it valid [29] and refuting the claims made by Microsoft regarding Viola [30]

October 31, 2005: Supreme Court declines to hear Microsoft appeal in Eolas case. [31]

December 22, 2005 - Klarquist Sparkman LLP asks USPTO to reexamine the Eolas patent - http://opensource.sys-con.com/read/171271.htm .

http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2200717/microsoft-sharpens-aims-patent - microsoft's Ballmer's reference of Eolas in speech.

Federal jury strikes down Eolas interactive web patent [32]

Steve Landers developed Cryptkit with Eolas' support

Clif Flynt reported on his work for Eolas at the San Diego conference in 2000.

Michael Doyle is Eolas' CEO.

Steve Ball did a paper with Eolas at a Tcl conference: [33].

Steve Wahl worked for Eolas on the Spynergy Toolkit and related projects.

Dave Roseman, of Eolas, sponsored the development of TclCLIPS