Eolas Appeal Scheduled for Thursday

From Infoworld: Court to hear Microsoft appeal to $521M Eolas ruling

In the case, Eolas Technologies and the University of California accused Microsoft of improperly including technology in the IE Web browser that allows interactive content to be embedded in a Web site, a common practice on the Internet. Eolas sued Microsoft in 1999; the university later joined the suit.

A jury in August last year ruled against Microsoft and ordered the company to pay $520.6 million in damages. Judge James Zagel at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago upheld the jury verdict in January.

The ruling triggered an outcry from experts, who argued that the patent should be invalid because of prior art, or examples of the technology’s use before the patent was issued. Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), urged the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property to invalidate the patent.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) late last year agreed to reexamine the patent and in March rejected it. The University of California, holder of the patent, is appealing that decision.

With the process at the USPTO still underway, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C. is scheduled to hear the Eolas case on Thursday. Microsoft plans to question the validity of the patent, spokesman Jim Desler said.