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Eolas says it would settle over IE

From: Mike Leach (Cubic Compass) <mike@cubiccompass.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 17:38:32 -0700
To: "'W3C Public Web Plugins List'" <public-web-plugins@w3.org>
Message-ID: <WMAB2C9BD0F75444b6850B035B3FB30369@cubiccompass.com>

Last modified: September 19, 2003, 4:42 PM PDT
By Paul Festa 
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

In response to newly revealed details of Microsoft's potential plans to
redesign its browser, Eolas founder Mike Doyle urged the software giant to
leave Internet Explorer alone and pay his company a license fee instead. 

Doyle, whose company's patent suit led to a federal district court's $521
million judgment against Microsoft, made his remarks to counter growing
perception in the software industry that he is an ideologically driven
crusader unwilling to settle with Microsoft at any cost. 

"Microsoft has been representing to the world that they have no choice but
to remove technology from the browser and disrupt the Internet," Doyle said
in an interview Friday. "And I want to make it very clear that that is not
the case. Microsoft has had in its power the ability to settle this case,
and to the extent that they're refusing to settle, it's their decision." 

Since Eolas' victory at trial last month, the Web software industry has been
consumed with speculation and planning on how to live with the patent,
should it survive Microsoft's promised appeal. 

At a meeting at the San Francisco headquarters of Macromedia--maker of the
ubiquitous Flash animation software that relies on IE's plug-in capabilities
to survive--Microsoft outlined several possible technical work-arounds it
was considering for the browser. 

People fear those options would, as Doyle suggested, disrupt the Internet by
forcing many thousands of Web sites to be rewritten, or to abandon plug-ins

Doyle himself may bear some responsibility for the perception that Eolas is
not amenable to a settlement. In remarks to the press, he has raised the
possibility that Eolas could simply refuse to license Microsoft the patented
ability to run plug-in applications, while granting those licenses to other
browsers or producing a browser of its own. 

On Friday, Doyle distanced himself from those remarks, calling them

"I was talking more from the point of view of if someone acquired Eolas,"
Doyle said. "That company would have all the powers available to them under
the patent laws. I also described it as a hypothetical situation among many
possible scenarios. I think they may have grasped upon that particular
argument and cast it in that light because they may see it to their
advantage to build FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) within the industry." 

Jan Conlin, an attorney who represented Eolas at trial, reiterated Doyle's
position that Eolas was open to a settlement. 

"Microsoft and the Web community and consumers would be better off by
Microsoft accepting the fact that this patent exists and paying for their
fair use of it," said Conlin in an interview. "Microsoft does have the
opportunity to settle this for a paid-up license. Microsoft has the
opportunity to put this thing to bed now." 

Microsoft responded that, while it always looked at "reasonable" ways to
settle ongoing litigation, the Eolas patent and demands did not fall under
that definition. 

"We've often taken a license when it makes sense and that technology brings
value to our products," said Jim Desler, a Microsoft representative. "But in
this particular case we believe the patent is invalid, there was no
infringement, we like our prospects on appeal, and we will certainly not pay
for technology on the terms they're seeking." 
Received on Friday, 19 September 2003 20:39:20 UTC

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