Patent company Eolas loses patents to web sites after appeal

WASHINGTON Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:18pm EDT

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Monday ruled in favor of Google, Amazon and J.C. Penney by upholding an earlier court decision that major portions of two patents claimed by Eolas Technologies Inc were invalid.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC upheld without comment a decision by a Texas federal court, which had declared invalid claims in each of the two major patents by Texas-based Eolas.

Eolas had said in its 2009 complaint that its patents covered major aspects of the Internet, such as Web pages and interactive content.

Because the patent claims were invalid, Google, Amazon and J.C. Penney Co Inc were found in the original ruling not to have infringed. Eolas was ordered to pay their costs, the Texas court said in July 2012.

Eolas did not respond to requests for comment. Google said it was "pleased with the court's decision."

Other companies had previously settled with Eolas, which has been labeled a "patent troll" because it does not make anything and files many patent lawsuits.

Eolas' web site said that the companies which had settled included Office Depot, Rent-A-Center Inc, Texas Instruments Inc, Playboy Enterprises International Inc, New Frontier Media, JPMorgan Chase and Argosy Publishing Inc.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Alden Bentley)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
jnffarrell wrote:
Like Enron, this troll has become a 5 letter word starting with E. Since Google spares no expense fighting trolls in court, this troll will give back in court costs, all, and maybe more money than it extorted from the weak of heart.

Jul 22, 2013 7:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
staff3 wrote:
“patent troll”

infringers and their paid puppets’ definition of ‘patent troll’:

anyone who has the nerve to sue us for stealing their invention

The patent system now teeters on the brink of lawlessness. Call it what you will…patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to stop or pay”. This is just dissembling by large invention thieves and their paid puppets to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft. The fact is, many of the large multinationals and their puppets who defame inventors in this way themselves make no products in the US or create any American jobs and it is their continued blatant theft which makes it impossible for the true creators to do so. To them the only patents that are legitimate are their own -if they have any. Meanwhile, the huge multinationals ship more and more US jobs overseas.

It’s about property rights. They should not only be for the rich and powerful. Our founders: Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and others felt so strongly about the rights of inventors that they included inventors rights to their creations and discoveries in the Constitution. They understood the trade off. Inventors are given a limited monopoly and in turn society gets the benefits of their inventions (telephone, computer, airplane, automobile, lighting, etc) into perpetuity and the jobs the commercialization of those inventions bring. For 200 years the patent system has not only fueled the US economy, but the world’s. If we weaken the patent system we force inventors underground like Stradivarius (anyone know how to make a Stradivarius violin?) and in turn weaken our economy and job creation. Worse yet, we destroy the American dream -the ability to prosper from our ingenuity for the benefit of our children and communities. To kill or weaken the patent system is to kill their futures. Show me a country with weak or ineffective property rights and I’ll show you a weak economy with high unemployment. If we cannot own the product of our minds or labors, what can we be said to truly own. Life and liberty are fundamentally tied to and in fact based on property rights. Our very lives are inseparably tied to our property.

Prior to the Supreme Court case eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the eBay decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back into the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all patentees, large and small.

Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

For the truth about trolls, please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html#pt.
http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/142741
http://ssrn.com/abstract=1792442
https://www.facebook.com/pi.ausa.5
http://piausa.wordpress.com/

Jul 23, 2013 10:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
RGold wrote:
@Staff3:

You *really* need to read the details of this case. This guy didn’t invent anything. Like many faculty members at a university, his students created it. (Did any of the money he extorted from other companies go to any of said students? Not one dime.) That makes his one-person company a “Patent Assertion Entity” – legal-speak for a company that acquires patents for the purpose of enriching themselves through litigation. In 2012 alone, 61% of all patent litigation originated with these folks. These are not Ben Franklins trying to protect their inventions from big immoral companies. This is small immoral companies trying to siphon as much money as they can from bigger companies. The original EOLAS judgement against Microsoft was for over $300 million dollars. And that wasn’t enough money for this one single guy. Intoxicated with his new wealth and ease of which he acquired it, he then sued over 24 other major companies in one action for hundreds of millions more and IBM separately for $5 billion (with a capital B!) dollars.

Is this the type of activity that you want to reverently cite The Constitution and predict the doom of the little inventor? Is Mike Doyle really your selection of poster-child for your cause? If so, you’ve got a hard struggle ahead of you. Good luck!

Jul 24, 2013 10:36am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.