Microsoft, Eolas Settle Patent Dispute

Eight years into a contentious browser infringement fight, Microsoft and Eolas settle out of court.

The nearly decade-long browser patent infringement dispute between Microsoft and Eolas Technologies is over. Terms of the out-of-court settlement were not disclosed.

The technology involved allows for the launch and display of software plug-ins from Web browsers. The University of California originally patented the coding of the technology and Chicago-based Eolas has held an exclusive license to the technology since 1998. Eolas has insisted that Microsofts Internet Explorer infringes on the University of Californias patent.

Microsoft countered that the technology had been developed prior to the University of Californias work.


Click here to read about how Eolas Technologies criticized the decision by Microsoft to modify its Internet Explorer browser at the expense of a seamless user experience.

In 2003, a jury found that Microsofts browser infringed on the patent and awarded damages of $1.47 per copy on 350 million copies of Windows that Microsoft shipped worldwide between November 1998 and September 2001. A judge later overturned the $521 million decision and ordered a new trial.

That trial was scheduled to begin later in September. The presiding judge had already delayed the start of the trial to give Microsoft and Eolas more time to settle the dispute.

"Were pleased to be able to reach an amicable resolution in this long-running dispute with Eolas and the University of California," Jack Evans, a spokesperson for Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., said in an e-mail statement.

"Microsoft values intellectual property and believes that the proper protection and licensing of IP enables companies and individuals to obtain a return on investment [and] sustain business and encourages future innovations and investment in the IT industry," Evans wrote.

Eolas, which filed its suit against Microsoft in 1999, is a one-man company founded by former University of California researcher Michael Doyle, who co-developed the technology in the patent.


Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.