The East Texas patent case that had more than a few technology companies (and other more traditional business that faced lawsuits) freaking out, has fallen apart for the guy that brought it to court. The case came to a dramatic conclusion Thursday when a jury ruled that the key patent in the case was invalid.
That case involved Michael Doyle, a Chicago biologist who claimed that he and two other individuals invented the "interactive web" while they worked at the University of California in 1993. Doyle said that he created a program that allowed doctors to view embryos over the World Wide Web and was the first such program to allow users to interact with images inside of a Web browsing window. Defendants contested these assertions, noting that programs like Pei-Yuan Wei's Viola offered such functionality first. World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee cited prior art.
Doyle and his company, Eolas Technologies, claimed that because they applied for a patent (1993) and eventually received it (in 1998) that he was owed royalty payments for the use of a multitude of modern Web technologies.
Companies that use the web to conduct business were relieved to hear that Doyle had lost his case.
"We are pleased that the court found the patents invalid, as it affirms our assertion that the claims are without merit," a Google spokesperson told Ars.
Berners-Lee took to Twitter to cheer the decision. "Texas jury agreed Eolas 906 patent invalid," he wrote. "Good thing too!"
With this ruling, all the other trials taking place in Tyler, Texas have been effectively voided. Where Doyle goes from here is uncertain, though many want to see him and his company stripped of the patent.
Source: Ars Technica