USPTO To Re-Examine Eolas Patent

CNet News: Patent office to re-examine Eolas patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has stepped squarely into a fight roiling the Web by agreeing to re-examine the Eolas patent for a browser plug-in, a development likely to bring cheer to Microsoft and software patent foes alike.

[…] “A substantial outcry from a widespread segment of the affected industry has essentially raised a question of patentability with respect to the 906 patent claims,” Stephen Kunin, the USPTO’s deputy commissioner for patent examination policy, wrote in his order for re-examination. “This creates an extraordinary situation for which a director-ordered examination is an appropriate remedy.”

Kunin specifically cited the technologies that the W3C had raised in its request for re-examination.

“A substantial new question of patentability exists with respect to claims 1-3 and 6-8 of the 906 patent in view of prior art acknowledged by the patentee in the 906 patent and the newly cited teachings of Berners-Lee, Raggett I and Raggett II,” Kunin wrote.

Update: Slashdot discussion – USPTO To Reexamine Eolas, SBC Patents