W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-web-plugins@w3.org > September 2003

RE: If MS pulls plug-in support, who do I sue

From: Russell Cowdrey <rcowdrey@usabilitysciences.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 09:24:25 -0500
Message-ID: <314DBF950AB6DB458E46005971E17A864C9951@mail.usabilitysciences.com>
To: "'public-web-plugins@w3.org'" <public-web-plugins@w3.org>


Richard,

I'm most interested in your last comment that the ActiveX control would have
to have a display area in a browser window.  My control is 95% in the
background, but there are times that we display html as modal dialogs in IE.
Would that be in violation?  

All of that would not get around the issue of being able to easily launch
the ActiveX control in the first place which will I fear become much more
cumbersome if allowed at all.

Russell



 -----Original Message-----
From: 	Richard M. Smith [mailto:rms@computerbytesman.com] 
Sent:	Monday, September 08, 2003 6:25 PM
To:	public-web-plugins@w3.org
Subject:	RE: If MS pulls plug-in support, who do I sue [bcc]


I don't think you can sue anyone.  The only grounds that I can think of
is if Microsoft explicitly represented that Internet Explorer had no
patent liabilities.  I've never heard that claim being made.  

In general, patents are a hazard of doing business.  So are competitors.
Microsoft is currently involved in 30 other patent lawsuits according to
press reports.

FWIW, the Eolas patent lawsuit was filed in Feb. 1999.  There has been a
good bit of press coverage over the suit for the past 4 1/2 years.
There was also a good bit of press coverage in 1995-6 when Eolas
announced they were applying for a patent on browser plugins and
applets.

There is no reason to think that ActiveX controls will completely
disappear from Internet Explorer.  My reading of claim #1 of the '906
patent says that a control must have a display area within a browser
window.  ActiveX controls which are display-free shouldn't have a
problem with the patent (INAL, YMMV, etc.).  Also, an ActiveX control
which opens up its own non-browser window should be fine also (INAL,
YMMV, etc.).

Richard

-----Original Message-----
From: public-web-plugins-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-web-plugins-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Russell Cowdrey
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2003 6:02 PM
To: 'public-web-plugins@w3.org'
Subject: If MS pulls plug-in support, who do I sue



I've been reading for the past week or so and I don't have a master
stroke
to overcome the patent since it seems to be very broad and to me the
inclusion of mime types or the like is just absurd.  I am with a small
company that has an interesting new technology which is based on ActiveX
and
I just cannot see how my technology will survive if MS pulls support.
For
our small company we are talking millions in lost opportunity as well as
a
lot of current revenue.  I say all this because the Macromedias of the
world
concern me less than the little guy. 

Here is my thing.  If Microsoft was told in 1994 that they were in
violation
of patent pending technology but pushed forward and standardized their
browser on this very technology, then what recourse do I have against
Microsoft?  I feel that they have created a marketplace under false
pretenses.  Can I sue the W3C's member organizations for creating a
public
standard that was in violation? If I cannot sue either of these two
parties,
can I sue the US patent office to demonstrate that this absurd software
patent is in violation of my rights to due process?  If my company is
expected to lose millions because a public standard was allowed to be
patented, then I have to be able to have my day in court.

I think we are hearing very little from Microsoft because I'm sure they
are
trying to weigh the cost of the lawsuits to come over the cost of the
patent
infringement.  Their best course of action is to come forward and put
their
full weight behind an appeal and to overturn this stupid patent.  I
really
think the ramifications are huge.  

I remember using a newsgroup reader on Next around 90 that I'm sure had
some
of the mime like features and I think that should be considered a
hypermedia
browsing application, but maybe it was just the cool visual interface
that
captivated me so. Anyways, as many have stated, the idea of packing a
reference to an external program had already been done to death and any
programmer worth a lick would have come up with a suitable solution.

The thing is we have filed for two patents on our software, but
purposely
narrowed the scope to be specific to our area of use so as to not deny
some
other programmer the ability to use the solution we came up with in
other
fields.   One of the patents could have been very broad.  At the time I
was
of the opinion that you did it because everyone else was doing it, but
now
I'm firmly in the camp that they should not be allowed.  Losing millions
will do that to you :-).  Software development moves much to fast for
anyone
to keep up with all the new developments and thus stupid patents will
continue to get issued because of ignorance.  Here is to an end to
software
patents.

Russell
Received on Tuesday, 9 September 2003 10:28:10 UTC

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