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Microsoft Bows to Eolas, Revamps IE 237

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the here-ya-go dept.
Tenacious Dee writes "The patent quarrel between Microsoft and Eolas takes a strange turn with an announcement from Redmond that the Internet Explorer browser will be modified to change the way ActiveX controls are handled. A Microsoft white paper details the behavior change."
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Microsoft Bows to Eolas, Revamps IE

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  • Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eli Gottlieb (917758) <eligottliebNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday December 03, 2005 @12:54PM (#14173873) Homepage Journal
    They could perhaps just remove ActiveX entirely, insecure as it has proven to be.
    • by icepick72 (834363) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:01PM (#14173914)
      just remove ActiveX entirely

      I think that's a great idea too. However I'm under impression there's a larger issue at stake which may affect more than just the IE ActiveX technology. Eolas stands to "adversely" affect other technologies with a court ruling in its favour. I'm not commenting on who is right or wrong. I don't have enough info. Maybe somebody else could comment futher on what else might be a stake besides Microsoft's ActiveX technology ...

      • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:16PM (#14173974) Journal

        Is my enemy's enemy my friend? I don't think so. If I chastise Microsoft for patenting software (which I do), then I can hardly endorse it in anyone else. When what you dislike is the weapons themselves, then it hardly matters who is using them on who.
        • by Dolda2000 (759023) <fredrik@nOSPAm.dolda2000.com> on Saturday December 03, 2005 @02:32PM (#14174301) Homepage
          No matter how much you hate the weapons, it's still pretty sweet to see their greatest proponent taste its own bitter medicine, though. ;)
          • by xiaomonkey (872442) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @03:36PM (#14174588)
            Taste of their own medicine? huh?

            IIRC - unlike some other companies out there *cough* IBM *cough*, Microsoft isn't really a big software patent litigator.
        • by way2trivial (601132) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @03:10PM (#14174482) Homepage Journal
          spurn them for their individual USE of patents/enforcement/licensing terms.

          if I patent software and publically license it as beerware ad infinitium, do you chastise me for patenting?

          We have to live within the system we have for now.. so- patent does not mean MUST be evil.. it can work two ways.
          • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @03:43PM (#14174620) Journal

            if I patent software and publically license it as beerware ad infinitium, do you chastise me for patenting?

            I'd say your heart was in the right place, but I don't believe that allowing the patenting of software or mathematical algorithms is in the best interests of mankind, a nation, or even in the long-run, to the benefit of individuals. Do not confuse copyright - this is how I did it - with patents - only I am allowed to achieve something. At least that is what they mean when we're talking about software. So I'm afraid, yes - I would disapprove of even your generous use of the patent system, because by joining the system, you strengthen it, whatever you intentions. Fighting over territory doesn't return it to the commons.

            I believe there would be a way out for you, in that you could simply publicly disclose your ideas. No need to join the patent system, but you've still enriched humanity.
        • That's a strange post. Sometimes vile weapons are used against vile people. I think an intelligent person can see shades of grey and see the good that comes out of use of patents sometimes.

          IN this case if it hurts MS then it's good, if it makes it harder to hack IE then that's even better.

          • That's a strange post. Sometimes vile weapons are used against vile people. I think an intelligent person can see shades of grey and see the good that comes out of use of patents sometimes.

            IN this case if it hurts MS then it's good, if it makes it harder to hack IE then that's even better.


            Well if you can accept that I'm intelligent and that I simultaneously hold a different point of view to you, then I'll happily explain my position.

            I think software patents are wrong. Leaving aside the unresolved
      • I think most plug ins probalby violate the patent but Eolas has promised ont sue other browsers. Probalby because they can't get any money from opera or firefox.

        What I really want to know is does this mean MS doesn't have to pay Eolas? Do they owe anything for years of infringement?
    • Re:Or... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BishopSRQ (935893)
      >>> They could perhaps just remove ActiveX entirely, insecure as it has proven to be. Yes, it's called .NET. This conversation makes me forget which year it is...it's 2001, right?
      • I believe that the parent was reffering to web ActiveX controls. The .Net strategy doesn't include a successor to those. In fact, the new ASP.NET framework focuses on producing standards compliant browser markup and on AJAX.

        Cheers,
        Adolfo
    • I think a better approach would be to setting ActiveX to only be usable on a local Intranet and *.windowsupdate.microsoft.com. Maybe even force the usage of SSL to allow ActiveX to be used outside of the Intranet for a false sense of security.
    • Re:Or... (Score:5, Informative)

      by IntlHarvester (11985) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:34PM (#14174061) Journal
      I knew someone would turn this into a flamefest about ActiveX.

      Allow me to make a technical point on slashdot -- ActiveX is nothing more than an interface standard. It's neither "secure" or "insecure" by itself. As it is used in IE it's no less secure than any other browser plugin mechanism, including those found in Firefox or Safari.

      The technology you dislike is not ActiveX -- it's called Internet Component Download [microsoft.com]. And while it still exists, it's pretty limited in XPSP2, and there's been some rumblings that it will be removed alltogether in Vista.
      • Microsoft has a replace already in .NET 2.0. You can install software in your user account from internet sites. Its one of the new features. In fact the free versions of visual studio apps only allow installations in this manner.
      • Re:Or... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        No, the technology I dislike is Active X itself.

        Why? It wasn't because I used Windows and was burned by the inherent insecurity of exposing the Window API to the internet.

        No, it was because I have experienced too many websites which have used Active X controls to implement a simple menu which could have been handled with simple HTML and javascript, and would have worked with my browser. Windows only technology doesn't belong in a web page. If it has to be Windows only, then just make it a regular Windows
    • Re:Or... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GIL_Dude (850471)
      OK, who the heck mod'ed the parent insightful? Sure, let's break everything! That'll work! While it might be a nice idea; the type of thing you throw around in a brain-storm session where "nothing is stupid", there is no way it is even close to possible to remove it now.

      The best that could be done is to change the behavior a bit each rev (Vista starts this by the way) to make it very hard to install ActiveX and eventually very hard to run it. Maybe in the OS after Blackcomb they can finally get rid of it.
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @12:54PM (#14173877) Homepage Journal
    This solution sounds like flashblock.
    I personally hope it is like that, because then content won't be doing dodgy stuff without consent.

    Thank you Eolas :)
    • by IntlHarvester (11985) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:11PM (#14173952) Journal
      No, it's not like Flashblock. The article indicates that flash movies will play as they normally do. Only that if you want to click the "Stop" button, you will actually have to click it twice - once to activate the control and a second time to click the button. Dumbdumbdumbdumbdumb.

      Furthermore, the webdev can bypass this stupidity using some simple javascript to write out the tags.

      Note also that Firefox and other browsers will need to implement a similar change.
      • Is it certain that you will actually need to click twice initially? Microsoft could choose to allow the "activation click" itself to also be forwarded to the ActiveX control, allowing the "activation" to be entirely transparent to the user. The extra activation phase could become purely an unimportant legal technicality, but they might be able to better defend it in court.
  • about time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eneville (745111) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @12:55PM (#14173888) Homepage
    ActiveX has been a huge problem with IE (you should know this already). I hope ActiveX is removed, rather than improved. It would reduce people's dependancy on the browser, perhaps then authors will consider cross platforms, or rather, the forced to do things that are cross platform.
    • by mangu (126918) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:13PM (#14173962)
      I hope ActiveX is removed, rather than improved. It would reduce people's dependancy on the browser


      I recently saw someone at work trying to install the 7 CDs of Visual Studio .NET


      After that, I came to believe maybe ActiveX isn't so bad after all...

      • A) you could just use something else. But I agree, it's hard to find a dev studio that's any good, especially for Linux. Microsoft (or Apple) win in this area, and X-Code doesn't need ActiveX ;)

        B) isn't it a bit brain damaged to ship something on 7 CDs? That's like back when we shipped Windows on 15 floppies, when CDs were on the frenge of new technology. DVDs could still be considered technologically frenge devices, but when every major game console (sans Gamecube *rumble*), new PC, and Laptop ships wit
        • > isn't it a bit brain damaged to ship something on 7 CDs?
          > That's like back when we shipped Windows on 15 floppies, when CDs were on the
          > fringe of new technology. DVDs could still be considered technologically
          > frenge devices, but when every major game console (sans Gamecube *rumble*),
          > new PC, and Laptop ships with a dvd player.. well, it's hard to ignore it
          > as a publication medium. Those 7 CDs would fit perfectly on a DVD with room
          > to spare.

          You're right, in the sense that DVD is -
  • by drgroove (631550) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @12:57PM (#14173895)
    Microsoft is doing this for a strategic reason - other browser vendors cannot hope to pay the patent licensing fees that Eolas will charge them. Additionally, it will be difficult for other browser vendors to change their software as quickly - remember, MS had a prototype version of an "Eolas compliant" browser at least last year.

    Interesting move.
    • > Additionally, it will be difficult for other browser vendors to change their software as quickly

      ?? Almost every browser vendor has been changing their software much more quickly than MS has been changing IE.
    • Will eolas go for other browsers?

      Probably Not! (Here's why).
      The general trick if you are going for maximum profit is to first sue a small company, and get a successful precident. It costs you less to fight the action against a smaller company, and improves your chances of getting the really big money later by giving you some already recorded findings that the court will generally accept and not let your opponent delay over. Taking on Opera (for example), first, and Microsoft second or later makes more sense if it's all about the cash.

      For a publicly traded company, this is even more plausable. Winning a small decision that seems to forshadow a bigger win can really drive up the price of stock without costing much at all to implement.

      The chief reason people are concerned that this lawsuit might be the first of a series is probably SCO's lawsuits. After all, SCO avoided going after smaller fry first and went for IBM. However: 1. That doesn't seem to be working too well, and other companies are at least as likely on observing it to avoid the strategy as imitate it. 2. There's no indicators that Eolas has been secretly coached in this strategy, backed by (say) the veiled resources of the powerful Lynx Megacorporation in an attempt to regain browser dominance for Eolas's hidden puppeteer.
      • by fermion (181285) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:40PM (#14174088) Homepage Journal
        It seems to be the general consensus that Eolas wil not go after other browsers. This is not the issue.

        The problem is they can. The problem is that I have not seen anything that proves beyond reasonable doubt that they will not. What would be such proof? Offering any GPL product the royalty free use of the patent. Offering the royalty free use of the patent to any browser that is available for non-windows platforms and updated regularly. The lawyers can hash out the language, but until there is more than an empty promis, suing MS is just a publicity stunt to win the support of the ignorant masses.

        If Eolas intends to provide the patent to other browsers, they should do so in formal written manner. Until they do so, I can only assume that they are starting with MS for the big win, and then will pick everyone else off one by one.

        • by IntlHarvester (11985) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:53PM (#14174158) Journal
          Offering any GPL product the royalty free use of the patent. Offering the royalty free use of the patent to any browser that is available for non-windows platforms and updated regularly

          The GPL premble states this:

          We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.

          Where, presumably, "everyone" includes Microsoft. Granting some GPL-specific, Firefox-specific, or non-Windows-specific patent grant surely violates this intent.

          Because of the GPL, Firefox will need to work-around the patent, even if Eolas is not specifically going after them.
          • It would be licensed for everyone's free use - when used in a GPL program. All Microsoft would have to do would be to GPL Explorer.

            I agree, however, that this patent should never have been granted. The fact that Microsoft can work around it in this ridiculous manner shows how stupid the patent actually is. If what Microsoft is doing ISN'T patented, it should be "obvious" that requiring "activating" a control (and ONLY for the purpose of it being interactive), or that loading a control by referencing an

            • > All Microsoft would have to do would be to GPL Explorer.

              All they would have to do is GPL the relatively trival module responsible for sending messages between explorer and the plugins. Which would effectively give MS an out, so it probably won't happen.

              I agree this was a very dumbly written patent if it can be evaded by a single mouse click or trival code change.
              • That won't cut it for GPL. Explorer and the plugins it ships with are a single "work" - it would be difficult to argue otherwise. All of Explorer would need to be licensed under the GPL, as would any plugins that it ships with. An external application that can be used on its own without Explorer, can be missing and Explorer continues to function (just without that specific functionality), that runs in its own process space and communicates with Explorer through a mechanism similar to IPC (pipes, sockets,

      • by ciroknight (601098) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @02:04PM (#14174204)
        While I agree with you on the main point (Eolas doesn't have the nuts to go after other browsers), it's for a totally different reason.

        Take the second biggest browser competitor to Internet Explorer; Mozilla's Firefox. Firefox's developers are not (for the most part) incorporated, or in a lot of cases, even compensated for working on Firefox. So, when you go to sue, you can't sue Mozilla Firefox; you have to sue about a thousand individuals who released patches, or specifically pick off the ones that didn't modify the plugin code in any way. You're still looking at a law team just to find these invididuals, then you have to send them out, see what company they work for, and start legal proceedings with them.

        Now, what's one of the largest Firefox supporters right now? Google. Does Eolas really want to unleash Google on them? Do no evil doesn't cover corporate takeovers for patent reasonings, I fear. While some people at Eolas would praise the giant buying them, I'm sure the laid off individuals would be quite pissed about it.

        But, I only unleash one scenario, which just shows you how unlikely things would be that Eolas would dare. I could see them going after Apple, as they are a single corporate entity which is easier to attack, but if Apple plays the webcore defense, their up the same creek that they would be with Firefox; finding each individual, and suing them personally, or through the company that sponsored the development.

        Eolas just stuck Microsoft with the bill because it was so easy; Microsoft can't afford to go to war anymore, and these are bad times for the big M. The euro hounds want them, the Justice department grumbles here and there, Google's ganging up on them, Apple's out dazzling them, open source companies are shooting up and grabbing capital all over, and on top of all of this, they decide to enter an entire new market which hates new hardware competitors (the gaming business).

        Yes, it was opportunistic. But that's how you often have to be in the software world, and yes, that's how Microsoft rose to the top in the first place.
        • I don't know where you got the silly idea that distributed development can make mozilla.org or Apple magically immune from patent litigation. They are still distributing the software.

          No, wait, I do know where you got the idea -- it's the "Not Me!" defense plagiarized from Family Circle.

          > Does Eolas really want to unleash Google on them?

          You're aware they just successfully beat Microsoft, right?
        • by Savantissimo (893682) * on Saturday December 03, 2005 @05:10PM (#14174958) Journal
          It wasn't easy - it's been in the courts for many years. Microsoft was offered a good deal early on but decided that they could get away with just using the patent without paying at all. They counted on their legal machine being able to crush tiny Eolas regardless of the merits of the case. Eolas is just one guy, Mike Doyle. He invented this technology legitimately, albeit about a month or two before other people. Nevertheless, if you read the patent carefully the details aren't really obvious. The patent and the legal issues around it are more complex than reports have indicated, and the alleged prior art differs in significant ways from the patent. Also, this isn't the only or most important thing Mike was the first to do - in the '80s he was the first person to create a networked hypertext system with the links stored in the content pages themselves rather than in a seperate central database. This was a much more fundamental technological and conceptual advance than the derivative implentation of hypertext by Tim Berners-Lee, HTML. So I look at this as a rare case of a lone innovator actually getting a shot at the big bucks that corporations take as their due. Software patents are the problem, not Eolas, and as long as the system is as it is, the best than one can hope is that actual inventors will see some royalties.
        • So, when you go to sue, you can't sue Mozilla Firefox

          You sue the Mozilla Foundation. From the about page [mozilla.org]:

          "the Mozilla Foundation exists to provide organizational, legal, and financial support for the Mozilla open-source software project. The Foundation has been incorporated as a California not-for-profit corporation to ensure that the Mozilla project continues to exist beyond the participation of individual volunteers, to enable contributions of intellectual property and funds and to provide a vehicle for l
    • other browser vendors cannot hope to pay the patent licensing fees that Eolas will charge them. Additionally, it will be difficult for other browser vendors to change their software as quickly

      If I understand this correctly, the change affects ActiveX. To my knowledge, (almost?) all alternative browsers based on different engines (Firefox, Netscape, Opera, Konqueror, Safari, etc) are not supporting ActiveX at all. If you're talking about MSIE based browsers, like Maxthon [maxthon.com] I imagine the changes will be immedia
      • No, the patent covers any sort of browser plugin technology, including the Netscape variety (used in nearly every non-IE browser), and Firefox Extentions.
        • by crazy blade (519548) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:36PM (#14174072)

          Well then, Microsoft should patent their work-around so that others can't use it!


          Don't you just love software patents? :-P


        • I don't know if you can classify firefox extensions in the same way as ActiveX. A Firefox extension is a change to the application itself that modifies its behaviour, such as adding menu items, changing preferences, adding new features. It happens to be pluggable instead of compiled in. The activeX controls the patent seems to apply to appear to be the type that display in the rendered html, such as windows media player and Flash. These are different than firefox extensions, so different that I think th
          • Clearly there are some Firefox extentions that affect how you interact with a web page -- FlashBlock being the example I responded to already.

            But what you say is equally true of ActiveX controls -- 99% installed on a Windows system have nothing to do with webpage rendering or interaction. So obviously, the discussion was being limited to those plugins or components which do affect such.
            • ONLY interaction is being blocked (until you click on it and hit a key), and ONLY when the control is loaded directly from the HTML (the HTML running a script which loads the control is allowed).

              Not having RTFP (or the court ruling over what TFP actually covers), I don't understand why specifying that you want to load some content, and the content implicitly loads a control, wouldn't also be an exception (so specifying that you want to embed a video clip or a flash animation, and THAT is what loads the con

    • Well, Eolas will not probably go against another browser. That is not news, they alread claimed to go against Microsoft because M$ stoled their idea, M$ listened to the presentation and refused to license the patent. Then, M$ implemented the same idea.

      But this is not important. What you seem to be ignoring is that they are setling. The patent didn't went through the full process of being accepted on a court. If Eolas goes agaisnt someone else with this patent, they'll be on the same situation that if he ne

    • yup, they'll have to take firefox out of debian since it's covered by patents.
  • Eolas!? (Score:3, Funny)

    by vodkamattvt (819309) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @12:57PM (#14173896) Homepage
    Who's the plucky sidekick now, Hercules!?!? Eolas takes care of business!
  • Unforunately, I don't have a lot of ActiveX programming experience. But from a strictly web-browsing point of view, this sounds like it might give the user a lot more control over what happens during their visits to web sites.

    It sounds like this might break a few IE-based applications out there as well...

    • (the white paper) Note While inactive controls do not respond to direct user interaction; they do respond to script commands.

      Probably won't break too much yet...

  • Better security (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@yahoo.LISPcom minus language> on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:01PM (#14173912) Journal
    The paper will explain how the IE changes will be implemented and to warn developers that users won't be able to directly interact with Microsoft ActiveX controls loaded by the APPLET, EMBED or OBJECT elements without first activating the user interface with an extra mouse click.

    That's what should happen anyway, stupid patent or no stupid patent. You shouldn't be able to go to a web page and have it run whatever it wants to on your computer. This won't protect against tricking the human, but it does raise the bar slightly for classic phishing popups, viruses and spyware.

    I'd say Microsoft wised up a little, except that there are probably other ways to get IE to run ActiveX without user intervention.


    • So if you view an embeded movie on a webpage, and the plugin has a Play and Stop button, you should have to click in the plugin box area first, just to activate that area, then click on the button you want. In effect, you have to doubleclick on the Stop button to stop playing the movie. This doesn't have to be IE and WMP specifically. Any plugin, ActiveX or not, would have to work like that, from what I'm understanding here.
    • No, no, they will still run immediately. You just won't be able to *interact* with them without activating the interface.
    • Re:Better security (Score:2, Insightful)

      by webzone (924183)
      If you actually read the white paper, it is very very easy to bypass the "click to activate" protection using Javascript. Anyway, if you had read it, you'd also know that controls will continue to run and respond to script commands. The click is required to enable the user to interact with the control.
    • Re:Better security (Score:5, Informative)

      by smallpaul (65919) <paul&prescod,net> on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:52PM (#14174147)
      You're totally misunderstanding the proposal. It isn't that the ActiveX will cease automatically running. It is that after they are running, the user will need to "activate them" with a mouse click before working with them. If you want to stop a movie playing, you'd have to click once to activate it and again to stop it.
    • You know what would be even better for Microsoft in this case? Implement X11 "focus-follows-mouse" within the browser client area. Then you avoid the extra click, but you're not using whatever mouse-click-passing problem Eolas is complaining about. Same result to end users, different coding, no patent problem.

      And yes, focus-follows-mouse is acceptable. First, it originated in X, whose developers would never patent it (and no one else can), and second, Windows has been supporting it since Win95 or so, enable
  • Workaround? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Teppy (105859) * on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:07PM (#14173934) Homepage
    If I understand Microsoft's writeup correctly, ActiveX controls will still load without user intervention, but will require an additional click to begin accepting user input the first time.

    What if someone were to write an ActiveX control that goes around and does all the clicking for other controls on the same page?
  • by Progman3K (515744) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:08PM (#14173939)
    Easy, easy joke...
  • by ivoras (455934) <(rh.ref) (ta) (sarovi)> on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:10PM (#14173949) Homepage
    Does this actually do anything? From the MS article: the ActiveX controls will STILL load and execute their code, it's only that their interface will be disabled until user clicks on it. The means almost all access to system calls, registry etc. will still work for AX controls.

    I can't see a notable security benefit in this...

  • by torokun (148213) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:18PM (#14173988) Homepage

    MS must be holding a really bad grudge at this point to go through all this trouble rather than licensing the patent.

    • Or maybe they could be making a stand.
      Everybody knows that MS has enough cash in the warchest to force litigation against an opponent in all but the most clear cut cases.
      When someone else now has a patent that can catch MS out, perhaps they're now making the stand to say "We can live without patents you bring against us. We will not pay you. You can sink your money into litigation to say we can pay you or change our product, and we will change our product. Nobody makes money out of Microsoft unless we sa
    • I'm pretty sure Eolas has made it a public point that they don't want to license this to Microsoft. Specifically it seems they want MS to suffer, for sneaking away with the browser market in the first place. They've also (sort of) promised that they won't go after other browsers.
  • Not just ActiveX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by compupc1 (138208) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:30PM (#14174038)
    Why are so many people acting like this is somehow some great strike against ActiveX? Aside from the fact that ActiveX controls will still run (you just have to click an extra time to interact with their UI), keep in mind that this applies to ANYTHING loaded with APPLET, EMBED, or OBJECT tags. That includes Java applets for sure (which are protected by the sandbox). It very well might also include Flash, SVG, etc. As I understand it, this covers basically any high-interactivity component of any web page, on any platform, with any browser if affected. This is just Microsoft's solution to the problem. Other browsers will need to come up with solutions as well.
  • Has anybody noticed that for seeing the patent's application images [uspto.gov] you have to use a plugin? Will be the patent office get sued too? Curious ...
  • Die, ActiveX, die!
  • The whole reason why MS bowed to this incredibly bad patent, was in their own interest.

    It is obvious to everyone that Eolas doesn't have a legitamate patent. But MS couldn't afford to beat them in court. If MS won, then it would illegitamize most of MS's patent portfolio of similarly bad patents.

    Just a thought.
  • XHTML 2? (Score:2, Informative)

    How does IE plan to support XHTML 2.0 if the is going to require a click to be viewed?

    For those less-informed about XHTML 2, will be replacing
  • by Absolut187 (816431) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:50PM (#14174142) Homepage
    This is probably a move to avoid a judgment of "willful infringement" in case they lose on appeal.
    A finding of willfulness can result in enhanced damages (up to triple) plus attorney's fees (which would otherwise not be recoverable).
    One way to show willfulness is if a company continues to infringe after a judgment of infringement.
    The statute is 35 USC sections 284, 285
    In either event the court may increase the damages up to three times the amount found or assessed.
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/document s/appxl_35_U_S_C_284.htm [uspto.gov]
  • by theodp (442580) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @01:52PM (#14174148)
    Microsoft and the W3C's decision to shut out the public [slashdot.org] on the Eolas patent reexam looks worse than ever, eh?
  • These guys don't have any actual products but rather some vague patents that should never have been granted given prior art.

    They are parasites feeding off the innovation of other companies. Folks, this does not just affect ActiveX but every other plug-in technology and applets.

    There really should be an RICO-like law to prevent people from forming companies whose sole revenue source is through patents. They should be required to be actively producing something in the area they have patents in. This is no

    • MS would be the first in line to fight your idea. THere is a reason they are piling up the patents you know.
    • by Savantissimo (893682) * on Saturday December 03, 2005 @05:33PM (#14175037) Journal
      You are totally off base. see my earlier post: http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=170066&cid =14174958 [slashdot.org]

      The patent is very, very specific and Mike Doyle actually built the software covered by the patent before filing the patent. His employer, a university, holds the patent for his invention. He then founded Eolas and licensed the patent back from his employer. Also, this is not the only big thing Mike Doyle invented, just the only one he tried to get paid for. Your idea of ending patents for inventors who don't have the ability to manufacture their inventions themselves is something the big companies would push hard for if there were any chance of it happening.
  • by OwlWhacker (758974) on Saturday December 03, 2005 @02:54PM (#14174402) Homepage Journal
    Now that Microsoft can't freely use the patented method, it isn't going to pay Eolas to use its patented method, it's going to work around it.

    What does Eolas gain from its patent? Nothing.

    What does the end user gain from this? Nothing, except hassle (OK, clicking a dialog box isn't much of a bother, but there isn't going to be the seemless integration of components that people have been used to).

    Software patents are pathetic, especially pointless ones such as this.

    If everybody agrees to create work-arounds - regardless of how much hassle it gives end-users - hopefully everybody will begin to loathe software patents, and will all join up to put an end to this pathetic excuse for the stifling of software progress and ease-of-use.
    • Now that Microsoft can't freely use the patented method, it isn't going to pay Eolas to use its patented method, it's going to work around it.

      What does Eolas gain from its patent? Nothing.


      I'm not sure about this. Thought Eolas get to collect 'damages' from all the earlier versions using their 'IP'... New browsers would not require any licensing fees if they used the non-infringing method, but they still suffer from what they already did. I thought Eolas was in it to make them suffer rather than just buy
  • And here I was, going through TFA to find a paragraph about IE getting tabs...
  • This isn't much of a problem to people that don't use IE.
    It seems that this patent won't be a threat to other browsers. Here's why: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/03/05/eolas_web_ patent_nullified/ [theregister.co.uk]

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