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
Wang may appeal. We inside mozilla.org aren't sure how that works. If anything crops up, it'll be noted here.
Since so much of mozilla.org'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).
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.
The Order is only a page and a half. I'm pretty sure I can get that OCRed; stay tuned.