Ina Fried at CNET:
In a decision made public on Wednesday, the patent office upheld the validity of a patent held by the University of California and its Eolas Technology spinoff. In 2003, a jury awarded more than $500 million in damages to the university and Eolas, but an appeals court this year partially upheld Microsoft’s appeal, saying the company should be able to present evidence that there were similar inventions that predated Eolas’ patent application.
A University of California spokesman said Thursday that the patent office’s ruling essentially says that the earlier work should not invalidate the Eolas patent.
Eolas and the university filed suit against Microsoft in 1999, alleging that the way Microsoft’s Internet Explorer uses plug-ins and applets infringes on an early 1990s patent.
UPDATE: Joe Wilcox has some analysis.