Online multimedia threatened by
Internet information mill thinking about the implications from the recent judgment against Microsoft for infringing a patent regarding interactive content on Internet sites.
A legal court awarded $520 million to Eolas Technologies and also the College of California (UC). The litigation started in 1999 when Eolas and UC accused Microsoft of infringing on the 1998 patent of the college and licensed to Eolas.
That patent covers technology that allows small software, frequently known as “applets” or “plug-ins,” to become baked into Webpages and interacted with through Browsers like Ie.
Microsoft to alter IE
Answering the judgment, Microsoft stated a week ago that it’ll make changes to Ie (IE) that could affect a “many existing Webpages,Inch based on an announcement by the internet Consortium (W3C). The organization can also be getting ready to appeal from the ruling.
Microsoft insists that it didn’t infringe around the Eolas patent, and can try to minimize the result on customers of changes to IE and it is cooperating using the W3C to coordinate that effort.
Computer security experts initially welcomed Microsoft’s defeat within the situation, speculating that it could usher within the finish of Microsoft’s ActiveX controls, notoriously insecure software components that permit software developers to integrate specialized functionality with Webpages.
Multimedia companies at risk
But technology and legal experts agree the ruling may affect an array of technology companies with items that communicate with Browsers, or services that depend on customer interaction through Browsers.
“Essentially, (the Eolas patent) describes a means of applying plug-ins inside a Internet browser,” stated Richard Cruz, a completely independent technology expert in Boston. “Individuals who use plug-ins like (Macromedia Corporation.’s) Flash or Java applets are handled by the Eolas patent,” he stated.
Macromedia, which distributes a totally free plug-directly into view Macromedia Flash files, didn’t react to demands for comment. Multimedia software developer Real Software also declined demands for comment.
The W3C is worried concerning the implications from the situation, based on Jesse Daly, the organization’s mind of communications: “There undoubtedly are concerns whenever patent issues seem to be highly relevant to fundamental technology. That will get the interest from the W3C membership,” she stated.
Past patent claims, for example individuals affecting the P3P (Platform for Privacy Preferences ) standard, have stopped development or even the implementation of development standards, she stated. The business has legal and technology experts analyzing the Eolas patent. The audience is attempting to determine or no of their printed standards infringe with that patent.
Meanwhile, companies with products that may be impacted by the patent are watching with interest, and therefore are wishing for word about how Eolas and UC intend to proceed.
Legal counsel: “Perform notice”.
Hector Santos, president and chief technology officer of bulletin board system developer Santronics Software programs are concerned: “When I learned much more about it and understood much more about what this option patented and just what this means, the greater I felt like ‘This claim is fairly broad!'” Santos stated.
“The thought of remote client-server applets activated with a remote hosting server has existed for some time so we get it done with this own technology,” he stated.
A “chat” feature in Santronics’ Wildcat software utilizes a Java application (or applet) that could violate Eolas’ patent, he stated. Santos is reviewing his product’s code and functionality carefully considering the suit, as his lawyer advised him to.
Douglas Kline, chairman from the patent and ip group at Boston law practice Testa, Hurwitz & Thiebeault cautioned that the likes of Apple, Real and Macromedia ought to be on notice following a ruling: “When they did not learn about this patent before, they are doing now. And they’ve guidance by what one court thinks (the patent) means,” he stated.
Under patent law, Eolas and also the College of California can pursue technology companies in addition to “finish users” of this technology, based on attorney Jim Gatto, co-mind from the ip group at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo.
Typically, however, businesses will target a couple of large companies, collecting significant damages and enforcing their patent legal rights, he stated.
The College of California is unaware of intends to pursue parties apart from Microsoft, but spokesman Trey Davis referred questions regarding legal ways of Eolas’ attorney, Martin Lueck, who didn’t respond.