The patent troll suit over the entire Web

Credit: flickr/dherrera_96

Famous troll Eolas now says any "interaction with images inside a browser" is their patent.

The case, underway in Tyler, Texas, the most troll-friendly Federal court district in the country, claims Michael Doyle, biologist, and two co-inventors, created and patented the "interactive web" back in 1993 at the University of California. Their goal? Viewing embryos over the Web. They claim they beat ViolaWWW, created by Pei-Yuan Wei, working at UC Berkeley, even though history says otherwise.

Eolas won a $521 million dollar lawsuit against Microsoft back it 2003 that was overturned on appeal, but settled by Microsoft rather than retrying the case (terms are sealed, but estimate are above $100 million). Involved companies in the current suit include Google, eBay, Apple, and, for good measure, Playboy. At stake? Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars.


Here's for patents of ideas, those which are not supported and lay dormant for decades, waiting until the targets are ripe for the picking.

Glassy on

I've seen such a high percentage of laughably bad patents in the software space that the phrase "patent troll", in my mind, is becoming nearly redundant.

mkramlich on

This is nothing more than a money grab....I'd be curious to know who the investors are behind Eolas

Digituslmpudicus on

Time for reboot

Patents should be about the actual implementation of ideas and not ideas themselves. That would automatically eliminate software patenting - for the actual code, copyrights should suffice.

radializer on

Hopefully this case just brings up how stupid and selfish the whole patent system has become.

Anonymous Coward on

Punish the tech companies that file hundreds of trivial and obvious software-patents and try to keep new players out of the marketplace. When I see Apple and Microsoft using these tactics against open source I say they get what they deserve.

andydread on


Dear Everyone. In 1998 I filed for, and was granted, a patent for doing stuff with things. Since you are doing stuff with things I would now like to claim my royalties.

apoptygma on

Welcome to Tyler, home to the world’s largest rose garden, and to the world's largest patent trolls.

jai on

It states that Eolas never released a web browser of its own; in fact it did release one called WebRouser in 1995 (three years before the patent actually issued). For that and other reasons, I don't think Doyle can properly be called a patent troll, if such is someone who sits on a patent until it becomes valuable and then springs out of nowhere to demand a cut of profitable businesses.

blacksqr on

… and the lawyers walked away with all the money.

ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon