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Quote of the Day - Everything that can be invented has been invented. - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. patent office, 1899
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How To Make $521 million Disappear

You may not have heard of this company, but you've likely used their software to view this page. Eolas took on Microsoft because Microsoft allegedly incorporated Eolas software into the Internet Explorer browser. Microsoft was not happy.

The initials stand for "Embedded Objects Linked Across Systems" and is also the Gaelic
word for "Knowledge." You have to know the company is run by a university (University of California) professor.

The little company won. Big. $521 million microsmackeroonies. One of the most interesting parts of this case was how the jury reached that number. How do you calculate the value of a part of a whole, when the part itself has virtually no value standing alone? But that's not the only unique aspect of the case.

The tables have turned, though. The USPTO invalidated Eolas' patent. This invalidation review has been conducted less than 160 times in the entire history of the U.S. Patent Office, according to Larry Evans, former Chief Patent Counsel for BP and Sohio.

You can see the original patent, or at least what's left of it and $521 million, now up in smoke.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 11:35 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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