Todd Bishop reports that Microsoft has reached a settlement in the long running Eolas patent suit. No terms are being revealed, but Eolas shareholders are getting a dividend of between $60 and $72 per share according to a letter from the Eolas COO, Mark Swords. (No, you can’t work backwards since Eolas is privately held and the total number of shares is unknown.)
The Eolas patent litigation started in 1999 and was quite an epic with a jury in 2003 awarding Eolas over $500 million (which to that point was the largest patent judgment ever against Microsoft) and caused Microsoft to change Internet Explorer in order to avoid infringing (and licensing) the Eolas patent. However, Microsoft’s legal team fought back in the late innings and gained a reversal on appeal as well as the replacement of the original presiding judge for the subsequent retrial.
Aside from the financial terms, one also wonders whether Microsoft now has a license for the technology under dispute and can roll back the Internet Explorer patch that requires two clicks instead of one to activate an ActiveX object on a Web page.