Defendants Win Monumental World Wide Web Jury Verdict

February 15, 2012

A jury in Tyler, Texas, sided with Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP’s client and numerous other online retailers, including Google Inc., Yahoo, Inc. and Inc., in their challenge to the validity of patents purporting to cover interactive web pages.

Tyler, Texas-based company Eolas Technologies claimed that basic Internet features on the defendants’ websites used technology patented by its founder Michael Doyle and the University of California, where Doyle was once a university researcher. The technology in question includes features widely used on websites, such as online video, search features, maps, advertisements and embedded applications.

The case, considered monumental in that it has direct implications for future Internet innovations, was being closely watched by the Internet industry. The case has received mention in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Register, and Wired. Witnesses for the defense included industry pioneers Sir Tim Berners-Lee, British computer scientist and inventor of the World Wide Web, Eric Bina, co-author of the Mosaic browser, and Pei-Yuan Wei, developer of the revolutionary Viola web browser.

An eight-person federal jury in Tyler ruled that the two patents in the center of the case were invalid, eliminating the need for subsequent trials on infringement and damages. The case is Eolas Technologies Inc., v. Adobe Systems Inc., 09cv446, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).