or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Patent holder that won against Microsoft now targets Apple
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Patent holder that won against Microsoft now targets Apple

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
Apple and 22 other companies are the target of a new patent infringement suit over the use of browser-embedded interactive Web content.

Previous patent suits on behalf of Eolas have gone favorably for the company. In 2004, it was granted $565 million in litigation against Microsoft over one of the patents. In addition, the validity of the patent in question was reaffirmed in three separate proceedings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The latest suit alleges that Apple and other companies are in violation of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,838,906 and 7,599,985, which involve embedded Web applications. It was filed Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas.

The suit notes that Apple's official Web site includes interactive content, and that applications like QuickTime and Safari, for both Windows and Mac, enable the viewing of such content. It also alleges that Apple's hardware that runs the previously mentioned software is in violation of the patents.

"Intellectual property is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy," said Dr. Michael D. Doyle, chairman of Eolas. "The primary reason for this has been the success of the U.S. patent system in allowing the innovative company in a field to develop and market its new inventions without having competitors unfairly profit from the innovator's hard work. We developed these technologies over 15 years ago and demonstrated them widely, years before the marketplace had heard of interactive applications embedded in Web pages tapping into powerful remote resources. Profiting from someone else's innovation without payment is fundamentally unfair. All we want is what's fair."

The company said its patents relate to fully-interactive browser embedded applications. The patent ending in 906 was granted in 1998, and the subsequent patent was issued this month. It covers embedded applications through the use of browser plug-ins and AJAX.

The long list of defendants, in its entirety, includes: Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Argosy Publishing, Blockbuster, CDW Corporation, Citigroup, Ebay, Frito-Lay, GoDaddy, Google, J.C. Penney, JP Morgan Chase & Co., New Frontier Media, Office Depot, Perot Systems Corp., Playboy, Rent-A-Center, Staples, Sun Microsystems, Texas Instruments, Yahoo and YouTube.
post #2 of 87
The US patent system is responsible for setting technology back decades. Especially in ridiculous cases like this where companies are granted patents for technologies that are obvious progressions of existing ones.

It sucks that MS lost this lawsuit. I'm not a fan of the Redmond gang but this is absolutely stupid. That patent should never have been granted.
post #3 of 87
Exactly!
bb
Reply
bb
Reply
post #4 of 87
The U.S. patent system is just - but offcourse not in all aspects - absurd! \
post #5 of 87
If MS lost, will Apple def loose as well?
post #6 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ereinion View Post

The U.S. patent system is just - but offcourse not in all aspects - absurd! \

I always laugh how when the shoe goes on the other foot, around here you get posts like this one.
post #7 of 87
Looks like Eolas hit the jackpot. See kids, intellectual property really is property.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #8 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaisdaddy View Post

The US patent system is responsible for setting technology back decades. Especially in ridiculous cases like this where companies are granted patents for technologies that are obvious progressions of existing ones.

It sucks that MS lost this lawsuit. I'm not a fan of the Redmond gang but this is absolutely stupid. That patent should never have been granted.

Agreed... I dont' think MS should have lost either. I hope Apple doesn't loose too (not that I'm a fan, but I'm more so against lawsuits like this)

How many sites do we know that use MySQL, Flash, or Javascript... I wonder if it considers those as web apps too?

There are some good patent lawsuits out there, and then there are a large majority of them like this. Of course, I really need to do my own research before making a definitive statement.
Go Linux, Choose a Flavor!
"I aim to misbehave"
Reply
Go Linux, Choose a Flavor!
"I aim to misbehave"
Reply
post #9 of 87
I'm applying for a patent soon, not joking. I'd tell you want the very simple product is, but then I'd have to kill you.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #10 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Looks like Eolas hit the jackpot. See kids, intellectual property really is property.

True that- now why again is Apple not sueing Palm for the Pre masquerading as an iPod?
post #11 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaisdaddy View Post

The US patent system is responsible for setting technology back decades. Especially in ridiculous cases like this where companies are granted patents for technologies that are obvious progressions of existing ones.

A big part of the problem is that technology has far outrun the expertise of the PTO, and apparently the courts, and they simply do not understand what they are reviewing. The first patent, according to AI's article, was granted in 1998, well after embedded content showed up in browsers. The lack of ability to recognize prior art then and now is a serious problem that needs to be addressed either through legislation or major reform at the PTO. Don't even get me started on gene patents.
post #12 of 87
From what I've read Eolas seems to have a valid patent and case here.I guess Mozilla is happy because they will not be sued
post #13 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I'm applying for a patent soon, not joking. I'd tell you want the very simple product is, but then I'd have to kill you.

But they do have a valid patent. They patented the current web browser back in 1994 and they did offer MS a license back in 1997, which MS refused.
post #14 of 87
Like the actor, who portrayed the outmatched bounty hunter said when he faced Clint Eastwoods character in the move, 'The Outlaw Josey Wales', "A mans gotta do something these days to make a living". (right before he was shot and killed), but WHOA BABY... $565 MILLION, and at $565 million a pop per company and 20 some odd companies, now that's a lot of living!

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi4075880729/

Gotta love that "Dragnet" type voice overlay, but hey, it is a 1976 movie!

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

Reply

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

Reply
post #15 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

A big part of the problem is that technology has far outrun the expertise of the PTO, and apparently the courts, and they simply do not understand what they are reviewing. The first patent, according to AI's article, was granted in 1998, well after embedded content showed up in browsers. The lack of ability to recognize prior art then and now is a serious problem that needs to be addressed either through legislation or major reform at the PTO. Don't even get me started on gene patents.

the problem is that 1998 is when the patent was granted, not when it was applied for. They do consider prior art, either prior to granting the patent, or certaintly when it goes to trial. In this case, the prior art likely came after the initial patent application.

Yes its a very general concept (now), but it wasn't in the early 90's and maybe these are the guys who figured out how to do it.
post #16 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I'm applying for a patent soon, not joking. I'd tell you want the very simple product is, but then I'd have to kill you.

Just be careful what you name it- musn't have the word "pod" in it , nor the letter "i". It also mustn't resemble any round fruit with a stem on it- be it a peach or a kiwi.
post #17 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post

How many sites do we know that use MySQL, Flash, or Javascript... I wonder if it considers those as web apps too?

Hmmm... That's a great point, I have a small simple website with Javascript apps... Should I be preparing for court?!

Of course, getting recourse from me is like getting blood from a turnip.

I can't go 565 million but I can do $5.65! \

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

Reply

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

Reply
post #18 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

A big part of the problem is that technology has far outrun the expertise of the PTO, and apparently the courts, and they simply do not understand what they are reviewing. The first patent, according to AI's article, was granted in 1998, well after embedded content showed up in browsers. The lack of ability to recognize prior art then and now is a serious problem that needs to be addressed either through legislation or major reform at the PTO. Don't even get me started on gene patents.

The problem isn't the courts, they are charged to uphold the letter of the law & that is all that they are trying to do. The problem is the patent office granting obscure patents & laws that don't properly deal with idiocy. We need massive reform of the judicial & legislative systems in this country.
post #19 of 87
They basically have a patent of Web 2.0 in the US.

If this is indeed valid, say goodbye to all IT companies in the states and kiss your future economy goodbye.
You won't even be able to use your security devices/software connected to your bank to pay your bills or make transfers online. This kind of operation often includes a software to maintain a secure connection while you use your browser.
You will have to use a separate application for basically everything the rest of the world outside of the US use a standard browser for.

Another example. Anyone playing online poker? You won't be able to do this either.

Am I totally wrong in the way I read the patent? (I only quickly read this from cnet: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-10368638-264.html )
post #20 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

But they do have a valid patent. They patented the current web browser back in 1994 and they did offer MS a license back in 1997, which MS refused.

See, I gotta agree that in order to receive a patent an individual needs to be able to produce a prototype. If you have an idea for something but haven't a clue how to make it happen then you really don't have anything at all!

Hey, I got a great idea for a dishwasher that puts the dishes away for me. I could describe in detail ways it might do that but the thing about having a working prototype is that you have to actually make something that WORKS!

We need patent reform so that the people who actually work hard to advance technology are the ones rewarded & not these leeches who are sucking the life out of innovation.
post #21 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post

the problem is that 1998 is when the patent was granted, not when it was applied for. They do consider prior art, either prior to granting the patent, or certaintly when it goes to trial. In this case, the prior art likely came after the initial patent application.

Yes its a very general concept (now), but it wasn't in the early 90's and maybe these are the guys who figured out how to do it.

Image maps (<img ismap src"...">) have been around since at least HTML 2.0, the work on which started well before this patent was applied for in 1994. Browsers were already supporting this by this time. I believe, although I am not 100% certain (~99.999% certain) that "usemap" (where the browser interprets the map coordinates directly rather than a server doing so) was also in use prior to the application.

From an image map to other "embedded interactive content" is not a very great leap. Thus, it seems obvious both that there was prior art and that the step from an image map to a "program" running embedded in a browser is an obvious extension of that prior art. Seriously, this is a case where the PTO people reviewing this patent had no idea about the what was going on in the tech world at the time.

Microsoft's legal department must have sunk pretty low from the days of Duke "Nuke'em".
post #22 of 87
I wonder whether anything done in OpenDoc counts as enough prior art that some of the claims could be ruled invalid? From the timelines I've seen so far, OpenDoc would appear to pre-date this patent, leaving simply the question of whether you can add the phrase "on the web" to any previous patent and really get something innovative enough to patent.
post #23 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezekiahb View Post

The problem isn't the courts, they are charged to uphold the letter of the law & that is all that they are trying to do. The problem is the patent office granting obscure patents & laws that don't properly deal with idiocy. We need massive reform of the judicial & legislative systems in this country.

The courts have the power to recognize that a patent ought not have been granted and revoke it.
post #24 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezekiahb View Post

See, I gotta agree that in order to receive a patent an individual needs to be able to produce a prototype. If you have an idea for something but haven't a clue how to make it happen then you really don't have anything at all!

Hey, I got a great idea for a dishwasher that puts the dishes away for me. I could describe in detail ways it might do that but the thing about having a working prototype is that you have to actually make something that WORKS!

We need patent reform so that the people who actually work hard to advance technology are the ones rewarded & not these leeches who are sucking the life out of innovation.

I totally agree with you. However, they claim they did and I think they proven that the did. The issue right now is that everyone, including the W3C and the defendants, knew about this patent but they chose to ignore it. I think they should be held responsible if they willingly infringe on this "908" patent.
Just because there are patent trolls who abuse the system, we shouldn't automatically bash and exclude the valid ones.
post #25 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beklim View Post

They basically have a patent of Web 2.0 in the US.

If this is indeed valid, say goodbye to all IT companies in the states and kiss your future economy goodbye.
You won't even be able to use your security devices/software connected to your bank to pay your bills or make transfers online. This kind of operation often includes a software to maintain a secure connection while you use your browser.
You will have to use a separate application for basically everything the rest of the world outside of the US use a standard browser for.

Another example. Anyone playing online poker? You won't be able to do this either.

Am I totally wrong in the way I read the patent? (I only quickly read this from cnet: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-10368638-264.html )

The worry here is that the patent must be very generic and vague to cover all such implementations.

That doesn't fit well with the fact that patents are meant to protect a specific implementation, and shouldn't prevent people achieving the same aim via a suitably different implementation.
post #26 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

If MS lost, will Apple def loose as well?

It's unclear from the article if the patents involved in the suit against Apple are the same patents in the dispute with Microsoft. But even if they are different, given that they filed in a very sypathetic jurisdiction, I wouldn't be surprised if they get the benefit of the doubt just because they won against MS.

And I like how they claim that Apple's hardware infringes on their patent simple because it runs the software. Seriously? That would make virtually every PC ever sold in violation of their patent.

Finally, I know patents are good for many years (20?), but isn't there also a requirement that you actively defend your patent or risk losing it? If someone is in violation, you have to challenge them in a timely manner. That's so you don't sit on it and wait for someone else to build up a huge market for you to ambush. It's been eleven years since this patent was issued. What have they done to challenge Apple's use of their claimed technology before this?
post #27 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Finally, I know patents are good for many years (20?), but isn't there also a requirement that you actively defend your patent or risk losing it? If someone is in violation, you have to challenge them in a timely manner. That's so you don't sit on it and wait for someone else to build up a huge market for you to ambush. It's been eleven years since this patent was issued. What have they done to challenge Apple's use of their claimed technology before this?

Yes the timeliness in this matter- you would think they would throw it out.
post #28 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

I totally agree with you. However, they claim they did and I think they proven that the did. The issue right now is that everyone, including the W3C and the defendants, knew about this patent but they chose to ignore it. I think they should be held responsible if they willingly infringe on this "908" patent.
Just because there are patent trolls who abuse the system, we shouldn't automatically bash and exclude the valid ones.

interesting that MS rejected licensing it in 1994. i read The Road Ahead and Gates thought at the time that the internet would always be like AOL where you pay a service charge per month, log on and get content delivered to you. approximately 2 years before they sued Microsoft is when MS did a complete 180 and embraced the internet

one the face the patent looks legit. they even mention Mosaic and the patent pre-dates Netscape Navigator
post #29 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Yes the timeliness in this matter- you would think they would throw it out.

patent filed in 1994 and issued in 1998. it was basically to extend NCSA Mosaic
the original lawsuit was filed in 1997.
Windows 1995 came out in August 1995.
I think it was next year that MS decided to embrace the internet and released IE and IIS and a few other patched together products.
1995 was when Netscape came out and 1995 - 1997 was when we first saw flash and other uses of the patent
post #30 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

The courts have the power to recognize that a patent ought not have been granted and revoke it.

That's the issue, judges aren't free to actually be judges in this day & age because of the ridiculousness of our laws & the obscurity they are written in.
post #31 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

I totally agree with you. However, they claim they did and I think they proven that the did. The issue right now is that everyone, including the W3C and the defendants, knew about this patent but they chose to ignore it. I think they should be held responsible if they willingly infringe on this "908" patent.
Just because there are patent trolls who abuse the system, we shouldn't automatically bash and exclude the valid ones.

Agreed, if they did in fact have a developed prototype then it should indeed be upheld. One of the things that sickens me most is how RIM got away with intentional & blatant patent infringement simply because they are too big with the government for anyone to be able to shut them down.
post #32 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezekiahb View Post

Agreed, if they did in fact have a developed prototype then it should indeed be upheld. One of the things that sickens me most is how RIM got away with intentional & blatant patent infringement simply because they are too big with the government for anyone to be able to shut them down.

who did RIM infringe on? there are several email server to phone products out there and they all use different ways of solving the problem
post #33 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post

the problem is that 1998 is when the patent was granted, not when it was applied for. They do consider prior art, either prior to granting the patent, or certaintly when it goes to trial. In this case, the prior art likely came after the initial patent application.

Yes its a very general concept (now), but it wasn't in the early 90's and maybe these are the guys who figured out how to do it.

More likely they figured out others would do it. They didn't make the browsers, the plugins, or the method to create plugins. And they certainly didn't invent AJAX.
post #34 of 87
I think some posters here are misunderstanding the actual issue. The alleged infringement is not against the technologies of Flash, QuickTime, and certainly not javascript. It is the browser functions that allow the <embed> tag basically. That is why for a time IE had sort of a click to Flash implementation and people started using Javascript to write the embed tag on the client side.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #35 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by alandail View Post

More likely they figured out others would do it. They didn't make the browsers, the plugins, or the method to create plugins. And they certainly didn't invent AJAX.

actually the Wiki article that was linked to said they developed a browser as part of the patent that was capable of doing what they patented. even in 2003 they couldn't replicate the functionality without violating the patent.

if NCSA could patent and successfully sue based on the concept of a hyperlink then this isn't that much a stretch
post #36 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think some posters here are misunderstanding the actual issue. The alleged infringement is not against the technologies of Flash, QuickTime, and certainly not javascript. It is the browser functions that allow the <embed> tag basically. That is why for a time IE had sort of a click to Flash implementation and people started using Javascript to write the embed tag on the client side.

Well, I read the patent and I don't see how this is anything but an obvious evolution of the functionality of ISMAP.
post #37 of 87
"We developed these technologies over 15 years ago and demonstrated them widely".

Given that patent 906 was issued in 1998, the CEO's own claims of wide demonstration constitute public disclosure which could render the patent invalid.

The patent was filed on October 17, 1994 (just under, not "over" 15 years), so it's unclear, due to the 1995 change in patent law, whether it's good until October 2014 or until November 1015. However, if they claim to have demonstrated them widely "over 15 years ago", that could invalidate the patent. From Wikipedia: "EOLAS claimed to have created the first web browser that supported plugins. They demonstrated it at Xerox PARC, in November 1993, at the second Bay Area SIGWEB meeting." Such a meeting would constitute public disclosure, rendering any European patents invalid, but it does fall within the 12 month guideline for U.S. patents.

Plenty of non-web programs used embedded objects; i.e. opendoc (1992), and many BBS systems going back to the 80's featured interactivity.

This patent seems to also clearly violate the "non-obvious" requirement.

Aron Spencer, Ph.D.
http://www.inventure.us
post #38 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by r8ix View Post

"We developed these technologies over 15 years ago and demonstrated them widely".

Given that patent 906 was filed in 1998, the CEO's own claims of wide demonstration constitute public disclosure which render the patent invalid.

Aron Spencer, Ph.D.
http://www.inventure.us


906 was filed in 1994, it was granted in 1998. and it was demonstrated in public in 1993
post #39 of 87
It seems to me they should be able to get a lot more than 22 companies. I would say several thousand. From what they were able to get from Microsoft, this company can hope to make trillions from a lousy plugin patent.

It's funny that from all computer manufacturers only Apple infringes!
post #40 of 87
WordPerfect for Java was released in 1997. Apparently that doesn't count as prior art.
http://support.novell.com/techcenter...d19970516.html
http://www.ddj.com/java/184415588
http://web.pip.com.au/office/
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Patent holder that won against Microsoft now targets Apple