It’s a good day when patent trolls get what’s coming to them - a slap in the face by a federal jury.
Eolas Technologies may be the biggest patent troll the Internet has ever seen. The company, alongside the University of California, claimed patents that pertained to the “interactive web.” This includes moving images, music clips, maps, search features, etc. Essentially, they claimed to have a patent for the modern Internet according to Wired.
Eolas took over a dozen companies to court in 2009 over these ridiculous patent claims. Some of those companies included Google, Amazon.com, Adobe and others.
Some companies just settled after the initial lawsuit to avoid further court costs. Those companies included Apple, Playboy and EBay. Google and others kept on fighting the claims that Eolas had a patent on the “interactive web.”
Well, good news comes to those who wait as a federal jury in Tyler, Texas yesterday said that the two patents owned by Eolas were invalid. Those who settled back in 2009 must be feeling pretty silly right now.
If the jury found their patents valid, the case would have gone forward with each company being tried for infringement. The jury invalidated the need for those trials and Eolas will never get their dirty money.
What may have tipped the odds in the general Internet’s favor was that Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Internet, and Pei-Yuan Wei, developer of a Web browser before Eolas, testified on behalf of the companies still fighting.
If Eolas wants to keep fighting, they could appeal the decision. They probably won’t, however, as it would be too costly. They also would not be able to target any more companies during the appeal proceedings.
It just once again goes to show you that companies shouldn’t settle with patent trolls. Fighting them will usually expose just how fraudulent their patent claims are.