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Saturday, February 18, 2012

American Claimed Internet Violated His Patents

While nobody in the United States seems to be willing to do anything about the country’s bizarre patent system, one guy is going to try and screw this system.

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Michael Doyle claimed recently that he and two of his fellows were first to invent and patent the “interactive web”, while they were working for the University of California back in 1993. He said that the software, designed at the UC’s San Francisco campus, allowed doctors to view embryos over the nascent web, and was recognized to be the first program allowing people to interact with the images inside of an Internet browser window.

Michael Doyle is currently fighting in East Texas, which has a record of giving over to patent trolls, in most cases because their side of the argument is considered the easiest for juries to understand. Doyle is suing nearly everyone, insisting that he must get trillions for royalty payments for almost every modern web technology. Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time Doyle launched a patent case, and he used to win them. For instance, his organization Eolas Technologies has already won the case against Microsoft, perhaps winning over $100 million from the software giant.

This new case pits Doyle against attorneys of Amazon, Yahoo, Google, and YouTube, as well as against the father of the Internet: it turned out that Sir Tim Berners-Lee himself has flown in for the case, since if Michael Doyle won, it would be the end of the Internet as we know it. As a result, everyone will have to pay to patent troll in the United States.
The global web standards group W3C has contacted the patent office and sent a letter signed by Sir Tim, where he warned that unless the Eolas patent was invalidated it would have caused the disruption of global Internet standards, as well as caused damage to the operation of the web.

Although the PTO originally rejected the Eolas patent claims, Michael Doyle and his attorneys insisted that they had the right to claim, and in the end the PTO changed its mind. This fact is currently used by Doyle as proof that others agree he had invented the web. In response, the tech companies sued in the case asked the judge to transfer the case to California, where it would have been laughed out of court, but they were refused to do so. The case in question is also embarrassing for the University of California, since the latter could make a lot of money if Michael Doyle wins. 

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