A US appeals court has overturned and remanded a district court judgement against Microsoft that it used patented browser technology from Eolas in its own Internet Explorer browser.
In 2003, Microsoft was ordered to pay internet software company Eolas more than $500m in damages, for infringing an Eolas patent which covers technology enabling a browser to display streaming audio and video and other content from within a single web page.
The technology has become a standard within the HTML, whose development is controlled by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards body.
The W3C has supported Microsoft’s case and has asked the US Patent Office to revoke the patent. The W3C is fearful that the patent will impact development work on HTML.
Microsoft claims the technology was not developed by Eolas in the first place. Both sides will now have to meet in a fresh court battle as a result of the case being remanded and sent back to the district court.
Eolas was demanding royalty payments from other browser suppliers but it is not clear whether it received any prior to this latest ruling.