Eolas Technologies on Monday filed a motion to permanently enjoin Microsoft's distribution of its Internet Explorer browser amid a flurry of court filings by both sides in the pivotal patent infringement case.
Eolas, the sole licensee and sublicensor of a browser plug-in patent owned by the University of California, asked the U.S. District Court in Chicago for an injunction against distributing copies of IE capable of running plug-in applications in a way the Eolas patent covers. "If they're not going to pony up and take a license under the patent, then they shouldn't be using it," Martin Lueck of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi said in an interview. The Eolas patent infringement victory has rattled the Web since it was handed down in August. In its verdict, a jury found that Microsoft's IE browser infringed on an Eolas patent that describes how a browser opens external applications of the type Macromedia, Adobe Systems, RealNetworks, Apple Computer, Sun Microsystems and many other software providers produce. Microsoft and the plug-in vendors aren't the only ones who are losing sleep over Eolas.
Web developers face the possibility of having to significantly rewrite their pages or strip them of commonly used technologies like Macromedia's Flash. And other browser makers, including Opera Software and two open-source development projects relied upon by companies like Hewlett-Packard and Apple, also face an uncertain future in terms of their plug-in technologies. Lueck said Eolas would still permit Microsoft to distribute IE as is, as long as it's being used in conjunction with an application provider or a corporate intranet that has an Eolas plug-in license. So far, Eolas has not granted any such licenses. Lueck also noted that, should the motion be granted, Microsoft still could distribute IE with the plug-in capability disabled. Microsoft said it is well on its way to side-stepping both the patent and a potential injunction with an IE alteration it previewed Monday--a version it expects to introduce early next year.
News source: C|Net News.com