February 13, 2012
In the case, Eolas Technologies v. Adobe Systems, et al., the plaintiffs accused more than a dozen companies of infringing their patents. Eolas (and the patent owner, the University of California) alleged that their patents covered virtually every way of interacting with "objects" on websites. To illustrate what means, Eolas argued that its patents were infringed any time you opened mail in Yahoo! mail, any time you used search suggest in a search window to find products on Amazon.com, any time you interacted with maps on Yahoo! maps, any time you used a product previewer to look at products on Amazon, any time you clicked on an interactive ad, and the list goes on. In addition to Amazon and Yahoo!, Adobe Systems Inc., CDW Corp., Citigroup Inc., eBay Inc., Google Inc. and Google's YouTube unit, JCPenney Co., Playboy Enterprises, and Staples Inc. were named in the original suit. Citigroup, eBay, and Playboy Enterprises settled with plaintiffs before trial. (Weil also represented eBay in this action.)
The case, tried before US District Judge Leonard Davis in the Eastern District of Texas, was to have been tried in several phases, first on validity and then on infringement and damages. The witnesses included luminaries in the field, including Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the web. With the jury's finding that Eolas' patents are invalid, the latter phases have been cancelled.
Recently, the case was included among the top IP litigation wins of 2012 in the article, “Trolls, Smartphones and Red Heels,” published by Corporate Counsel on February 1, 2013. Please click here to link to the full article (may require registration/subscription).