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Microsoft loses in Eolas patent ruling

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Striking a blow to Microsoft, the U.S. Patent Office this week reaffirmed a key Web-browsing patent that the software maker is accused of infringing.

In a decision made public Wednesday, the patent office upheld the validity of a patent held by the University of California and its Eolas Technology spinoff. In 2003, a jury awarded more than $500 million in damages to the university and Eolas, but an appeals court this year partially upheld Microsoft's appeal, saying the company should be able to present evidence that similar inventions predated Eolas' patent application.

A University of California spokesman said Thursday that the patent office's ruling essentially says that the earlier work should not invalidate the Eolas patent.

Microsoft, meanwhile, expressed displeasure with the decision.

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