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Eolas says it would settle over IE

From: Richard M. Smith <rms@computerbytesman.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 20:39:22 -0400
To: "W3C Public Web Plugins List" <public-web-plugins@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c37f0f$a3371940$550ffea9@rms>

http://news.com.com/2100-1032-5079642.html

Eolas says it would settle over IE
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 altogether. 

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
hypothetical. 

"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 20:39:24 GMT

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