As in that case, the W3C has legal and technology experts analyzing the Eolas patent and the legal decisions that led to the company's court victory over Microsoft, according to Daly. That analysis could take six months or more, but the group will make its findings public once they are known, she said.
Among other things, the group is trying to determine whether any of its published standards infringe on the Eolas patent, Daly said.
In the meantime, technologists and executives who feel they may have products that infringe on Eolas' patent are following the post-trial motions closely and hoping for some word about how Eolas and the University of California will proceed.
One of those is Hector Santos, president and chief technology officer of Santronics Software Inc. of Homestead, Florida, which sells BBS (bulletin board system) software. Santos learned of the Eolas case after the $520 million verdict was announced, but became concerned about the implications for his three person company after reading more about the Eolas patent.
"As I learned more about it and understood more about what these guys patented and what it means, the more I felt like 'This claim is pretty broad!'," Santos said.
"The idea of remote client-server applets activated by a remote hosting server has been around for a while and we do it with our own technology," he said.
In particular, a "chat" feature in Santronics' Wildcat software uses a Java application (or applet) that may violate Eolas' patent, he said.
Santos is reviewing his product's code and functionality carefully in light of the suit.
"My lawyer gave the advice, 'Start reviewing what you've got,'" he said.
Santos feels that there is plenty of evidence that his company's product used Eolas' patented techniques before Doyle filed for his patent in 1994 -- an argument known as "prior art" that can be used to defuse patent infringement claims. If anything, Santos is surprised that Microsoft wasn't able to successfully use such claims in its own defense.
One of the problems may be that technologists routinely underestimate the reach of patents, according to Smith.
"Technology people don't understand what patents are and they make big claims, like, 'Oh, it's just like this or that. There's prior art.' But there was none produced by Microsoft," Smith said.
Assuming the Eolas decision stands, the fact that Microsoft apparently could produce no prior art will only serve to strengthen the patent, according to attorney Douglas Kline, chairman of the patent and intellectual property group at Boston law firm Testa, Hurwitz & Thiebeault LLP.
"Microsoft would know better than anybody what they were working on when the patent was filed," Kline said.
"To the extent they did exhibit (prior art), the jury disagreed. So if Microsoft couldn't prove that their own activity didn't render a patent invalid, it could be difficult for anyone else to prove it," he said.
Companies like Macromedia, Real and Apple Computer Inc. should all be on notice following the Eolas ruling, Kline said.
"If they didn't know about this patent before, they do now. And they have guidance about what one court thinks (the patent) means," he said.