Jury Finds 2 Eolas Internet Patents Invalid

Feb 14, 2012 11:30 AM PST

TYLER, Texas — Eolas Technologies, which said it was due $600 million in royalties from online companies for alleged patent violations, has lost its suit in federal court.

A final judgment was issued Monday after a federal jury tossed U.S. Patent Nos. 5,838,906 and 7,599,985, finding both of the patents invalid.

The long-running case targeted some of the most well-known American brands and included two adult entertainment giants — Playboy and New Frontier Media — which both opted to settle with Eolas and license its patents several years ago instead of battling their claims at U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas.

Eolas in October 2009 claimed the nearly two dozen businesses were infringing on U.S. Patent No. 5,838,906, which is described as the ability for web browsers to act as platforms for interactive embedded applications.

Its official U.S. Patent Office header reads as a “distributed hypermedia method for automatically invoking external application providing interaction and display of embedded objects within a hypermedia document.”

Eolas also said the companies infringed on U.S. Patent No. 7,599,985, which updates U.S. Patent No. 5,838,906 and covers plugins and AJAX to embed applications.

Eolas battled the defendants with the University of California, which co-owns the patents because they originated from work founder Michael Doyle did while employed by the school.

Prior to Monday's ruling, Office Depot, Rent-A-Center, Playboy, New Frontier Media, Blockbuster,  Oracle, JPMorgan Chase, Sun Microsystems and Argosy Publishing opted to settle with Eolas.

Those companies that fought to the bitter end and released from claims include Adobe, Amazon,  CDW Corp., Citigroup, eBay, Frito-Lay, Go Daddy, Google, J.C. Penney, Office Depot, Perot Systems, Staples, Texas Instruments, YouTube and Yahoo.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis ruled Monday that Eolas pay attorneys fees and court costs for the remaining defendants.

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