IE patent endgame detailed

Microsoft has suffered another legal setback in the patent dispute with software developer Eolas and is now advising Web authors on workarounds, as new details emerge of its plans to tweak Internet Explorer.

A federal judge last week rejected Microsoft's post-trial claim that Eolas had misrepresented the facts in the patent case, which claimed the software giant had stolen browser technology relating to plug-ins. The ruling came after a $521 million verdict against the software giant last month, and ends Microsoft's first attempt to challenge the result. Several more post-trial motions remain to be dispensed, and Microsoft doesn't expect a final judgment in this round to be handed down until October or November. After that, Microsoft has 30 days to decide whether to appeal, which it has pledged to do.

Still, last week's loss on claims of "inequitable conduct" heightened the sense that not only Microsoft but the entire Web may soon be forced to make substantial adjustments--and that pages around the Web and on private intranets will have to be rewritten to work with an altered IE. "If you're currently using a plug-in, you will have to change your pages quite significantly," said one person familiar with Microsoft's post-verdict plans. "There might be tools to help you do so, but currently they don't exist."

News source: C|Net

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