Absolutely absurd and intolerable consequences
The inordinate time that LawPundit is spending on the Microsoft-Eolas case here is not without reason. Not only are there monetary consequences for the consumer - since WE ALL ultimately pay the bill for this nonsense, but there may be practical - absolutely absurd and intolerable consequences - for the average browser user down the road.
If the decision in the Microsoft-Eolas case is not overturned on appeal or if the USPTO does not render the patent unenforceable in the course of its currently ongoing review of that patent, nearly everyone using Internet Explorer may soon have to deal daily with the judicially required results of the clearly erroneous judgment made in that lawsuit.
Via the Buzz Archive of the Web Standards Project we are led to this Microsoft page on the immediate consequences of the case.
Essentially, since the Eolas patent has claimed exclusive ownership of what it labeled an "automated interactive experience" - that is essentially the broadly claimed invention - when accessing a remote server through a web page, Microsoft may try to get around this patent claim by simply inserting a pop-up box to cut off that automated interactive experience. According to Microsoft's own website, this will possibly look like the dialogue box below every time a remote server is accessed, whereby the user will then have to click the dialogue box as desired. Unfortunately, this could happen multiple times per internet page on the browser. This is the kind of idiocy that the standard in Bonito Boats was intended to prevent, by prohibiting the patenting of broad ideas or methodologies which act as monopolies on technological advance.
On this and related issues, see also Jeffrey Zeldman's "Patent Nonsense" and his link to Saving the Browser at Ray Ozzie's Weblog.
Additionally, although the LawPundit generally rejects swearing and does not excuse it here - there is a grassroots "discussion" of this issue at comments to Tom Gilder's blog where the patent-killing "click box" is already operational as a demo.
In the opinion of LawPundit, what we read in those comments are the "voices of the people" and there is a warning in those voices to the legislative and judicial establishment which should be heeded: get your act together.