Under patent law, Eolas and the University of California are free to go after technology companies as well as "end users" of that technology, according to attorney Jim Gatto, co-head of the intellectual property group at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo PC.
Typically, however, small companies will target one or two large companies, collecting significant damages and enforcing their patent rights, he said.
The University of California is not aware of any plans to pursue parties other than Microsoft, but UC spokesman Trey Davis referred questions about legal strategies to Eolas' attorney, Martin Lueck, who did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Regardless of what happens in the Eolas case, industry watchers should expect to see more and bigger patent cases in the future, Gatto said. The size of the judgement against Microsoft, which is one of the largest ever in terms of monetary damages, and the increasing importance of intellectual property to companies' bottom lines will drive an interest in pursuing big patent cases, he said.
In addition, the Eolas case may send a message to small companies that they can successfully defend patents in court, even when pitted against much larger companies with limitless resources like Microsoft, Gatto said.