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September 14, 2012

Cal-Berkeley, Eolas Launch Patent Lawsuit Against Facebook and Wal-Mart

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

The patent wars have been raging for decades, and there doesn’t seem to be a slowing down or stopping of the very real battles waged between various companies. We’ve all heard about the slugfests that go on between Apple (News - Alert) and companies such as Samsung, but there are other patent wars being fought by entities that are far less known. One such entity is a University of California licensee who has taken on some of the biggest bigwigs, and one when it comes to patent infringement. That licensee is now taking on three other kings of the hill in Disney (News - Alert), Wal-Mart and Facebook.

Eolas Technologies Inc. and the Regents of the University of California filed the patent lawsuit on wednesday over four specific patents they believe have been stolen or infringed upon. These particular patents have to do with interactive technology that were recently issued to the University and subsequently licensed to Eolas.

Eolas was founded by a Texas businessman in order for the University to make money of on their patent technology, including patents that were created by Eolas President Michael Doyle and his team when he was with the University of California.

A University of California spokesman issued a statement saying that the University considered the patents public assets and "should be paid a fair value when a third party exploits that university asset for profit." Facebook (News - Alert) has responded that they believe that the lawsuit is wholly without merit and will be dismissed in good time. Wal-Mart also believes that they have done nothing wrong and will continue to fight the allegations.

Eolas has had a mixed history of successful patent litigation. The company’s biggest victory came in 2007 when it reached a settlement with Microsoft (News - Alert). While specific numbers from that particular settlement were never released, initial reports say that the University received as much as $30 million.

Want to learn more about patents in the telecom industry? Then be sure to attend Synopsis Under IP/Patents Telecom Sourcing Conference (SUITS), collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.   Stay in touch with everything happening at SUITS. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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