Appeals Court orders Eolas v. Microsoft Patent Case to be Reassigned

Eolas Eolas v. Microsoft (Fed. Cir. 2006).

Eolas has been after Microsoft since 1999 hoping to collect on its five hundred million dollar patent infringement verdict.  After last year’s remand from the CAFC, Microsoft asked the Northern District of Illinois to reassign its case to another judge — a motion that was denied. Microsoft appealed.

In its motion for reassignment, Microsoft did not assert bias or misconduct, but rather argued that under N.D.Ill. rules, cases on remand should be "automatic." (Local Rule 40.5). In denying the motion, the district court explained that the particular rule had become "mostly dormant."

In its decision to reassign the case, the CAFC also relied upon the Seventh Circuit rule that cases must be reassigned on remand. 

Although the 2005 CAFC decision in this case was largely in favor of the patentee Eolas, Microsoft will now have a new opportunity to present its defenses to an entirely new judge.

Eolas case is now even stronger — with the recent issuance of a reexamination certificate of the Eolas ‘906 patent by the PTO. The reexamination provides a further presumption that the patent is valid over a number of additional pieces of prior art, including that submitted by W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee.


The 271(f) export issue is likely to be taken-up by the Supreme Court in the parallel AT&T v. Microsoft case.