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Eolas might sue every last, lousy company in creation

Do you want to know why I hate patent trolls? Let me tell you about Eolas Technologies. This company claims that it creates and markets technologies. It doesn’t.

Eolas, like other patent trolls, has taken an obvious idea, somehow managed to con the U.S. PTO (Patent and Trademark Office) into giving it a patent, and is now suing Adobe Systems, Google, Yahoo, Apple, eBay and Amazon.com. Oh, and it’s also suing Blockbuster, Frito-Lay, Office Depot, Sun, Playboy. (Playboy!?) and 10 other companies.

Eolas claims that these companies have all violated its U.S. Patent No. 5,838,906 (‘906 patent) and U.S. Patent No. 7,599,985 (‘985 patent). And, as these patents are written, they have all violated them.

It would be hard not to. You see, the ‘906 patent broadly covers any mechanism that can be used to embed an object within a Web document. And when Eolas says “object,” it means any applets or plug-ins. So, according to the company’s lawyers’ logic, Adobe’s Acrobat and Flash; Apple’s QuickTime; Microsoft’s ActiveX Controls and Windows Media Player; and Sun’s Java Virtual Machine, to name but a few, and any Web browser that automatically invokes such applets and plug-ins when you click on the appropriate link are in violation of Eolas’ patent. In other words, pay up or we’ll sue you. The ‘985 patent extends Eolas’ broad claim to anyone who tries to add applet-like functionality to Web pages with AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and similar Web development techniques.

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