Wang Suit Dismissed

The suit is described here. The patent in question is described here.

On May 6, Leonie Brinkema, District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, dismissed all patent claims raised by Wang against Netscape and AOL.

Believing that the web wasn't videotex, and that a videotex patent should only apply to videotex systems, Netscape brought a summary judgment motion, arguing that there was no need for a trial because there were no disputed facts and, under the applicable law, the patent was not infringed. The judge agreed, ruling that the videotex system covered by the patent was "generically and fundamentally different" from web browsers. In doing so, the court rejected Wang's attempt to extend their patent to cover web pages. Relevant differences included

There were other points which distinguished the web and web pages from the patented system, but the court didn't address them because there was no need to.

Wang may appeal. We inside aren't sure how that works. If anything crops up, it'll be noted here.

Since so much of's source came from Netscape's allegedly infringing product, we've been keenly interested in the case and we're pretty happy with the news (even though we expected it all along).

Contributions of the netizens

You guys blew away our lawyers. Tons of stuff came in, and good stuff. We'll get with our lead attorney and get some real data here. Stay tuned if you're interested.

It's really clear that the net can be an invaluable resource in fighting bogus claims. Anything done to reduce abuse of IP law has got to be good.

Some FAQs

Several requests have come in for case numbers, URLs for the actual court filings, and related things, and we anticipate people asking for URLs for transcripts of the decision. If we can get any of that, it'll get posted here.