Transfer Pricing Associates

Landmark Patent Ruling in Texas

post Thursday July 25, 2013

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Amidst the continued activity of so called patent trolls, a recent United States Court of Appeals decision could signal a change in how the U.S. judicial system rules in cases over patent infringement. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a prior decision made by a U.S. federal court located in the state of Texas. The Court of Appeals did not comment on the ruling, but did uphold the original decision by the Texas federal court.

The patent firm Eolas Technologies appealed the ruling that had previously been handed down. Eolas Technologies claimed that greater than 20 internet companies had infringed on patents that the firm had exclusive licensee rights to. Some of the defendants in the Eolas Technologies appeal case included large companies including J.C. Penny, Google, Yahoo and many others. The patent infringement suit, filed in 2009 by Eolas Technologies, claimed that the 22 companies named in the suit had involved themselves in unlicensed use of the company’s patents relating to websites and a handful of other products. The patents involved in the suit facilitated internet browsers use a groundbreaking method of hosting a variety of embedded interactive web based applications. In February of 2013, a Texas jury ruled that the patents were invalid. Prior to the two most recent rulings, some of the original defendants settled and agreed to specific license agreements with Eolas Technologies. Oracle and Texas instruments were two of the companies that settled on license agreements.

The patent infringement case generated a great deal of notice in the technology and intellectual property world. Testimonies involving some of the pioneers of the World Wide Web and early internet browsers proved to be the crux of the case. Because of the court proceedings and testimony of Pei-Yuan Wei, who developed the Web browser Viola, it became clear that Eolas Technologies did not generate the intellectual property in question. The testimony of Mr. Yuan Wei clarified that Viola had released the IP that generated the inventions before Eolas Technologies actually filed for a patent.

An additional factor that makes this case is the nature of Eolas Technologies. The firm fits the typical mold of patent firms who seek to gain major sources of revenue form licensing technology and from royalty fees. The Obama administration announced five executive actions to combat the patent trolling that has become widespread in the US, in hopes of protecting innovators.

Source: Info World

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