TI signs license deal after Eolas patent lawsuit

Microsoft and others have also paid for licenses or settled, but Google, Yahoo, Apple and Amazon are holding out

Texas Instruments said Thursday it has agreed to license two patents from Eolas Technologies, which two years ago sued more than 20 companies for alleged patent infringement including TI, Google, Yahoo, Apple and Amazon.com.

TI joins a handful of companies including Microsoft, Oracle and JPMorgan Chase that have signed licensing deals with Eolas. Other companies still fighting in court include eBay, CDW, Citigroup, Go Daddy, Office Depot and YouTube.

One of the patents at stake covers technology for allowing embedded applications in Web browsers, and the other is a continuation of that patent that allows sites to use plug-ins and AJAX to add embedded applications to sites.

Eolas filed a lawsuit targeting 22 companies in 2009, after Microsoft settled a similar, previous lawsuit. Microsoft had been ordered to pay Eolas US$565 million for the alleged infringement but eventually settled for an undisclosed sum.

Eolas says it invests in research and development to create new technologies for improving websites. However, critics have pointed to its lawsuit as evidence that the U.S. patent laws need to be reformed.

Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist credited with creating the World Wide Web, once urged the U.S. patent office to invalidate one of Eolas' patents to avoid economic and technical damage to the Web.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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