Court Reverses Half-Billion Dollar Decision Against MS

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 4:16 pm

A Court of Appeals has reversed a jury verdict for Eolas Technologies and the University of California in a patent-infringement case related to the Internet Explorer browser.

In what many consider to be the largest patent dispute in history, Microsoft was ordered to pay US$521 million in damages in 2003, following four years of wrangling. Eolas initially had asked for $1.2 billion.

The appeals court began hearing arguments in mid-December and now has sent the case back to the lower court.

The university and Eolas, its spinoff company, originally filed the lawsuit in 1999, alleging that they owned a patent covering plug-ins and applets, and claiming that Microsoft was infringing on that patent with IE.

A lower court agreed and awarded damages in August 2003. Microsoft appealed the decision by questioning the validity of the patent and noting flaws in the way the case originally was handled.

Microsoft pointed out that the jury had not been allowed to hear information about Viola, an early Web browser, that could have impacted the case. Eolas and the university countered by arguing that details about Viola never were made public and, therefore, were not relevant.

Eolas, the University of California, and Microsoft now will have to meet in a new battle back in district court.

Source: Yahoo


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