Last month, Microsoft suffered a stinging setback in a patent-infringement case when a federal jury awarded $521 million to a former University of California researcher. The impact, according to industry executives and Web experts, could be disruptive and costly for other Internet software companies and big commercial Web sites.
The technologyenables a browser to summon programs automatically over the Internet. The programs that use this technology include those for playing music, videos and animations and exchanging documents over the Internet. The technology was not only used by Microsoft in its Internet Explorer browsing software, but has become a standard feature in the software for coding Web pages, called hypertext markup language, that has been ratified by the Web consortium.