Image via Eolas
Following suit - no pun intended - with the recent wave of legal battles begun by or involving Apple, Eolas Technologies is suing Apple (and nearly two dozen companies in all) for patent infringement. This is the same company that settled with Microsoft in another legal battle. So don't think Eolas doesn't have the muscle to rough-up the big boys.
But do they have a case?
According to Eolas -- an acronym for "embedded objects linked across systems" -- the patent awarded to the company in 1998 enabled browsers to act as platforms for interactive embedded web applications. Today this advanced browser technology provides rich interactive online experiences for more than a billion web users worldwide, the company said.
If it ultimately proves true that all the big-name defendants in this case really are violating a patent deemed valid by the US Patent and Trademark Office, a significant consequence could result. The companies may reevaluate their stance on whether or not certain (or any) software should be patentable. That's the question at the heart of a case now being heard by the US Supreme Court.
The Eolas court filing says all the defendants are infringing on one or both of its key patents by making, using, selling or importing "web pages and content Relevant Products/Services to be interactively presented in browsers." The lawsuit also singles out the apps of specific defendants as examples, including Abode Flash and Shockwave, Apple QuickTime and Safari, Google Chrome, and Sun's Java and JavaFX.
It's difficult to argue with that observation, but does it apply in this instance - particularly when it comes to Apple?
For sure, this legal quagmire could prove a messy, prolonged, and undeniably complicated situation. As a result, the matter is likely to resolve itself in yet another out-of-court settlement victory for Eolas. Of course, that arrangement wouldn't address the bigger legal questions that prompted this snafu to begin with. And until the issues relating software patent violations are finally clarified in a legal proceeding, these problems are only bound to get worse before they get better.