Microsoft Corp. says it will appeal a jury’s ruling that it pay more than $520 million in damages to a university and a software company because its Explorer Web browser infringed on a patent. Over half a billion in damages says they had little option.

The jury could have awarded as much as $1.2 billion to University of California and Eolas Technologies Inc., based in Chicago.

“We are very satisfied,” Eolas attorney Martin R. Lueck said Monday. “It shows the jury system works. Patents need to be respected regardless of the size and the market power of the company involved.”

Microsoft attorney Andy Culbert said Monday’s finding would be appealed.

Eolas was launched in 1994 to market technology that allows users to access interactive programs embedded in Web pages. Eolas chairman Michael Doyle along with two others developed the technology while at the University of California at San Francisco. Eolas owns the exclusive rights to market the technology, while the university owns the patent.

Eolas and the university say Microsoft made their technology part of Internet Explorer and bundled it with Windows. Microsoft attorneys argued that the patent was invalid and said that in any case their client had never infringed on it. Microsoft said the patent described features the technology didn’t deliver.

Eolas says the patent Microsoft was found to have infringed upon is the first browser system that allowed for the embedding of small interactive programs such as “plug-ins” or “applets” into World Wide Web documents. Such programs are central today to online commerce as they power everything from banner ads to interactive customer service.

The award of $520.6 million was based on the jury’s calculation that $1.47 per unit represented reasonable royalties for the more than 354 million copies of Windows sold from the time the patent was granted in November 1998 until September 2001.

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