Eolas targets tech giants with patent suit

Eolas Technologies is suing 23 major technology companies including Google, Adobe and Apple over a patent covering the use of browser plugins.

Eolas fought an eight-year battle with Microsoft, claiming that the software giant’s implementation of ActiveX in Internet Explorer violated the now notorious ‘906 patent.

A court sided with Eolas, awarding the company $521 million in damages and leading Tim Berners-Lee to described the verdict as “a substantial setback for global interoperability and the success of the open web.”

However, it now appears the Microsoft verdict – finally settled after many appeals in 2006 – was only a test case. Eolas is now going after 23 companies, including Apple, Google, Adobe, Amazon, eBay, Playboy, Yahoo, and YouTube, amongst others, citing violations of patent ‘906 and ‘905 which covers embedded apps using Ajax.

All we want is what’s fair. We developed these technologies over 15 years ago and demonstrated them widely

“All we want is what’s fair,” says Eolas chairman Dr Michael Doyle. “We developed these technologies over 15 years ago and demonstrated them widely, years before the marketplace had heard of interactive applications embedded in web pages tapping into powerful remote resources.

“Profiting from someone else’s innovation without payment is fundamentally unfair,” he concludes.

However, the company’s lawyer, Mike McKool, was keen to point out that Eolas isn’t just another patent troll. “What distinguishes this case from most patent suits is that so many established companies named as defendants are infringing a patent that has been ruled valid by the Patent Office on three occasions.”

Adobe, Apple and Google claim they are reviewing the suit, which is seeking undisclosed damages.

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