10 March 2004
Redmond dodges a bullet, maybe
Back in 1999, Eolas Technologies, on behalf of the University of California, sued Microsoft, claiming that Internet Explorer's method of embedding executable code in a Web page infringed upon UC's patent; last summer, the jury found for Eolas and awarded damages upward of half a billion dollars.
Of course, Bill Gates didn't get rich by writing a lot of checks, and it appears he may not have to write this one either: the US Patent and Trademarks Office, acting on a report by World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee that the original HTML spec described comparable methods for embedding code long before the patent was issued, is now considering declaring that patent invalid. Examination of the patent continues; Eolas gets 60 days to explain itself.