So much for owning the interactive Web.
The patents, U.S. Patents Nos. 5,838,906 and 7,599,985, covered interactive elements on Web pages, including (according to Eolas) streaming video, music clips, maps, ads, embedded applications and search suggestions. Eolas and the patents' co-owner, the University of California, sued several Internet companies for their infringement, with a defendant list that included Adobe Systems, Amazon, Apple, Blockbuster, Citigroup, eBay, Frito-Lay, Go Daddy, Google, J.C. Penney, JPMorgan Chase, Office Depot, Perot Systems, Playboy Enterprises, Staples, Sun Microsystems, Texas Instruments, Yahoo, and YouTube.
Office Depot, Rent-A-Center, Oracle, Playboy and some others already settled with Eolas shortly after the lawsuit was filed in 2009.
If the patents had been found valid, the lawsuit would have produced subsequent trials on infringement and damages. But it's unlikely that Eolas will appeal the verdict - so you can keep embedding YouTube videos in your web pages without fear of reprisal (as long as you're not violating someone else's copyright, but that's a whole other enchilada).
Kudos to the court for deciding as it did. It's cases like this one that so often help to give software patents a bad name.