Eolas files patent lawsuit against 22 companies

Technology research company Eolas Technolgies, which won a US$520.6 million patent infringement case against Microsoft in 2003, has filed a new patent lawsuit against 22 companies including Adobe Systems, Google, Yahoo, Apple, eBay and Amazon.com.

Eolas' lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claims the tech vendors and other companies have violated two Eolas patents, one for allowing embedded applications in Web browsers, and the second a continuation of the first patent, allowing Web sites to add embedded applications through the use of plug-ins and AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML).

"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," Michael Doyle, chairman of Eolas, said in a statement. "Profiting from someone else's innovation without payment is fundamentally unfair. All we want is what's fair."

Eolas is asking the court to prohibit the defendants from using the patented technology and to pay triple the actual damages for willful infringement of the patents.

Eolas was awarded a $520.6 million judgment in the lawsuit against Microsoft in August 2003. An appeals court threw out that ruling in March 2005 and ordered a new trial to determine the original patent's validity. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office later upheld the first Eolas patent, number 5,838,906 ('906), and Microsoft settled the Eolas lawsuit in August 2007 for an undisclosed amount.

Mike McKool, of law firm McKool Smith and lawyer for Eolas, said he hopes the lawsuit will put an end to the widespread unauthorized use of the company's technology patents. "What distinguishes this case from most patent suits is that so many established companies named as defendants are infringing a patent that has been ruled valid by the Patent Office on three occasions," he said in a statement.

The '906 patent was granted in November 1998. The second patent, number 7,599,985, was granted Tuesday.

Other defendants in the patent lawsuit include Citigroup, the Go Daddy Group, Staples, Office Depot, Sun Microsystems and Texas Instruments.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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