UC, Eolas Win $520 Million From Microsoft in Patent Suit

Aug. 13

UC Press Release

On Aug. 11, the U.S. District Court in Chicago ruled that Microsoft improperly used patented web browser technology, awarding the University of California and Eolas Technologies Inc. $520.6 million in damages.

“This verdict is a significant landmark in defining and protecting Internet technology whose benefits literally reach the whole world,” said the University’s general counsel James E. Holst in an August press release.

The technology was first developed by researchers at UC San Francisco’s Innovative Software Systems Group, which sought to help scientists not only share but also interact with data published online. UC was awarded a patent in 1998 and licensed it exclusively to Eolas Technologies Inc., a company headed by the technology’s co-inventor, Michael Doyle.

“Facing competition from Netscape Navigator in the mid-1990s, Microsoft updated its Explorer browser by using Eolas’ technology and subsequently bundled it with all of its Windows operating systems since 1995,” said Eolas’ lead attorney, Martin R. Lueck, in an August press release.

Microsoft, though contacted in 1994 concerning the UC’s patented technology, failed to seek a license for its browser. Part of Microsoft’s defense in the case was that the UC had no rights to the product, as inventor Pei Wei had actually been the first to come up with the technology. However, the judge threw out this evidence when he decided that no jury could find for Microsoft on that issue.

Since its invention in 1993, the product has been used, with Eolas’ permission, by online video players, games, virtual tours and stock information providers.

The University should receive over $50 million of the award, after legal fees and license-related expenses, and will donate most of the money to the UCSF campus, where the technology was first conceived.

UCLA Gets the Blues

Aug. 25

Daily Bruin

Beginning this fall, all UCLA varsity athletic teams will make the switch to “True Blue.”

Developed by the UCLA Athletic Dept. and Adidas, True Blue is more than a color – it’s a campaign. The new shade is darker than the traditional powder blue of years previous and will be the color of all team jerseys. The slogan will appear on posters and advertisements, as well as becoming the brand name for UCLA athletics. Together, the color and the name will form a unified theme for UCLA athletics.

Scott Mitchell, marketing director for the athletic department, noted that the campaign will be the first time all 22 varsity athletic teams have both the same color and the same marketing slogan. In addition, he said, using True Blue as a theme could help to build brand recognition and raise revenue from clothing sales. The athletic department speculates that the increased recognition of the varsity teams via the unified theme could also lead to increased recognition of the rest of UCLA athletics, boosting attendance at sporting events on the whole.

As uniforms are generally renewed annually, particularly for football, the effort should involve no extra expense.

“We think it is a significant improvement,” Associate Athletic Director Glenn Toth told the Daily Bruin. “[True Blue] looks richer and makes the numbers easier to read on jerseys.”

Besides the varsity athletes, UCLA orientation counselors are also wearing True Blue shirts as they introduce new students to UCLA.

UC Davis Enforces Ethics on Incoming MBAs

Sept. 10

UC Newswire

UC Davis intends to make sure that business isn’t as usual for its incoming Masters in Business Administration students.

In a new program this year, the Graduate School of Management will require its 150 entering MBA students to complete an “ethics boot camp,” in which the students will concentrate on a scenario involving giving aid to a dying man they meet in the mountains. The scenario will be used as a forum to discuss values like leadership and individual and corporate responsibility.

Before attending the ethics boot camp, students will be required to read selections on ethics and write an essay on how they handled a difficult ethical question. The program intends to give students ethical guidance at a time when corporate America has increasingly been characterized by a lack of ethics.

“The boot camp will underscore the importance of ethics to effective management and leadership,” John Reynolds, the boot camp leader and a managing partner of a Bay Area consulting firm, said in a press release. “I want students to learn to think critically about ethical issues, to have the tools at hand to resolve those issues and to have the moral courage to act.”

The boot camp is one of several orientation sessions for the MBA students. Other orientation topics include basic accounting, business math skills and using data analysis and presentation software.