Microsoft delays IE changes

Microsoft delays IE changes

Microsoft on Thursday said it would not, "for now, implement modifications" to Windows and Internet Explorer as demanded by the patent suit it lost to Eolas Technologies last August, because of many requests made by its corporate users and business partners.

What is also having some impact on Microsoft's decision is the U.S. Patent Office determination that there remain "substantial questions concerning the validity of the Eolas patent," which could result in the cancellation of the Eolas patent, according to Microsoft officials in a prepared statement.

In light of this Microsoft will not release an update to Internet Explorer and is not planning on making the changes to Windows XP Service Pack 2 that it first announced last October.

"We have heard from partners and customers on this, and they are encouraging us to see how all of this stuff plays out," said Frank Kane, a Microsoft spokesman.

In October, the company said it would consider making minor changes that would allow developers that use Internet Explorer technology to continue their work and free them from any concern about infringement. Microsoft also said these changes would be made in new versions of Windows expected to arrive later this year.

Early in January the district court had entered its final judgment in the Eolas case, and Microsoft said it intended to appeal that decision. The court stayed the judgment, which included the implementation of an injunction, until that appeal has been heard and decided.

In its case Eolas, which claims to be the exclusive licensee of a patent owned by the University of California, asserted that its patent covered a mechanism used by Web page authors to embed and automatically invoke certain interactive programs. Microsoft asserted that the patent was invalid because of pre-existing inventions.

The jury rendered its verdict on Aug. 11, 2003.

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