W3C sides with Microsoft

Posted by ryan griffis | Thu Oct 30th 2003 1:30 p.m.

W3C Sides With Microsoft In Patent Fight
Thu Oct 30, 3:34 AM ET

Antone Gonsalves, TechWeb News

A leading Internet standards body said Wednesday that
it has taken the unusual step of asking federal
officials to revoke a patent that the organization
claims threatens "substantial economic and technical
damage" to the Web.

The position of the World Wide Web Consortium places
the organization squarely behind Microsoft, which lost
a court battle in August against the patent holder, a
former University of California researcher.

In a letter to James E. Rogan, undersecretary of
commerce for intellectual property at the U.S. Patent
and Trademark Office, W3C director Tim Berners-Lee
said, the group "urges the USPTO to initiate a
reexamination of the '906 patent in order to prevent
substantial economic and technical damage to the
operation of [the] World Wide Web."

If the patent is not revoked, the impact would be felt
not just by Microsoft, but by everyone who has created
Web pages and applications written for standards-based
browsers that use technology covered by the patent.
"In many cases, those who will be forced to incur the
cost of modifying Web pages or software applications
do not even themselves infringe the patent-- assuming
it is even valid," Berners-Lee wrote.

It's the first time the W3C has asked that a patent be
revoked.

U.S. Patent No. 5,838,906 covers technology that
enables a browser to call programs over the Internet
to display streaming audio and video, advanced
graphics, and other content within a single Web page.
The technology has become a standard within HTML, the
language used to write Web pages. The W3C controls the
development of HTML.

Michael Doyle, founder of Eolas Technologies in
Chicago, was granted the patent while he was an
adjunct professor at the University of California, San
Francisco. A federal court jury sided with Eolas in
its patent-infringement suit against Microsoft,
awarding $521 million to the plaintiff.

As a result, Microsoft has said it will make changes
in its Internet Explorer browser, which is used to
access the Web by 90% of computer users. Altering the
browser could force changes in a variety of popular
media software that leverage the application,
including Adobe Systems' Acrobat document reader,
Apple Computer's QuickTime video program, Macromedia's
Flash, and the RealNetworks music player.

In its letter to the patent office, the W3C maintained
that the Eolas patent is invalid because its ideas had
previously been published as "prior art." Prior art
wasn't considered in the Microsoft trial, nor when the
patent was granted, the standards body said.
Therefore, the patent should be invalidated.

If the patent is allowed to stand, the W3C said, it
would cause "cascades of incompatibility to ripple
through the Web."

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  • MTAA | Thu Oct 30th 2003 2:09 p.m.
    >W3C Sides With Microsoft In Patent Fight
    >Thu Oct 30, 3:34 AM ET
    >
    >Antone Gonsalves, TechWeb News

    <snip>

    >
    >In its letter to the patent office, the W3C maintained
    >that the Eolas patent is invalid because its ideas had
    >previously been published as "prior art." Prior art
    >wasn't considered in the Microsoft trial, nor when the
    >patent was granted, the standards body said.
    >Therefore, the patent should be invalidated.
    >
    >If the patent is allowed to stand, the W3C said, it
    >would cause "cascades of incompatibility to ripple
    >through the Web."

    Has anyone seen any info on what prior art Berners-Lee submitted to
    the patent office?

    this is good news IMO.
    --
    <twhid>
    http://www.mteww.com
    </twhid>
  • christopher otto | Thu Oct 30th 2003 7:36 p.m.
    definitely it would cause a mess, though looking at the microsoft documentation at:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/ieupdate/activexchanges.asp

    it seems like it could mean javascript freelance work to me. which wouldnt be so bad.

    t.whid wrote:

    > >W3C Sides With Microsoft In Patent Fight
    > >Thu Oct 30, 3:34 AM ET
    > >
    > >Antone Gonsalves, TechWeb News
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    > >
    > >In its letter to the patent office, the W3C maintained
    > >that the Eolas patent is invalid because its ideas had
    > >previously been published as "prior art." Prior art
    > >wasn't considered in the Microsoft trial, nor when the
    > >patent was granted, the standards body said.
    > >Therefore, the patent should be invalidated.
    > >
    > >If the patent is allowed to stand, the W3C said, it
    > >would cause "cascades of incompatibility to ripple
    > >through the Web."
    >
    >
    > Has anyone seen any info on what prior art Berners-Lee submitted to
    > the patent office?
    >
    > this is good news IMO.
    > --
    > <twhid>
    > http://www.mteww.com
    > </twhid>
  • Lee Wells | Fri Oct 31st 2003 12:10 a.m.
    Hey...Power to the little guy. I bet that settlement will come in handy for
    his company.

    I personally dont see why they are causing all this fuss. Why dont they just
    pay to license the the patent for usage rights.

    So its adobe, microsoft, apple, etc that has to pay.
    Yes maybe it might raise the price of software but do you really have to pay
    for software these days.

    on 10/30/03 18:36, christopher otto at thisisfresh@yahoo.com wrote:

    > definitely it would cause a mess, though looking at the microsoft
    > documentation at:
    >
    > http://msdn.microsoft.com/ieupdate/activexchanges.asp
    >
    > it seems like it could mean javascript freelance work to me. which wouldnt be
    > so bad.
    >
    >
    > t.whid wrote:
    >
    >>> W3C Sides With Microsoft In Patent Fight
    >>> Thu Oct 30, 3:34 AM ET
    >>>
    >>> Antone Gonsalves, TechWeb News
    >>
    >> <snip>
    >>
    >>>
    >>> In its letter to the patent office, the W3C maintained
    >>> that the Eolas patent is invalid because its ideas had
    >>> previously been published as "prior art." Prior art
    >>> wasn't considered in the Microsoft trial, nor when the
    >>> patent was granted, the standards body said.
    >>> Therefore, the patent should be invalidated.
    >>>
    >>> If the patent is allowed to stand, the W3C said, it
    >>> would cause "cascades of incompatibility to ripple
    >>> through the Web."
    >>
    >>
    >> Has anyone seen any info on what prior art Berners-Lee submitted to
    >> the patent office?
    >>
    >> this is good news IMO.
    >> --
    >> <twhid>
    >> http://www.mteww.com
    >> </twhid>
    > +
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  • MTAA | Sun Nov 2nd 2003 9:56 a.m.
    On Thursday, October 30, 2003, at 10:59 PM, Lee Wells wrote:

    > Hey...Power to the little guy. I bet that settlement will come in
    > handy for
    > his company.

    In all probability the patent is bogus. When you have the W3C against
    you then you're probably not doing something that's good for the web.
    and yes, 500 million would come in handy for just about anyone ;-)
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