Eolas strikes back; Microsoft prepares appeal

The patent battle between Microsoft and the University of California's Eolas spin-off is heating up again, with each side pressing its case before the government.

UC and Eolas filed a response to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 11 weeks after an examiner from the patent office issued his preliminary findings in a re-examination of the Eolas browser patent that has Microsoft scrambling.

Attorneys for the university and Eolas on Tuesday filed the 10-page response and two declarations in order to rebut the preliminary findings, which would invalidate the patent if formally endorsed. The findings appeared to tip the closely watched case in Microsoft's favor, acknowledging that the patent may have been wrongly granted. But they're far from the last word, legal experts said, since they came early in what will likely be a years-long process.

While Microsoft is not formally involved in the re-examination process, it is preparing its own appeal to a $521 million patent infringement decision it lost to the university and Eolas in federal district court last year. A representative for the University of California expressed confidence the patent would prevail both in court and at the patent office. "The court case was a slam dunk," said UC representative Trey Davis. "Part of the interest in the patent office re-examination is that Microsoft is using it essentially as a back door to win the case when they couldn't win it in court."

News source: C|Net News.com

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