A US software vendor which claims that all companies selling Wap technology are infringing one of its patents has extended the deadline for those firms to pay a licence fee.
Geoworks' patented technology determines how applications can be displayed on a variety of platforms, including mobile phones, and is considered a key component in the development of Wap software.
Geoworks offered the technology to the industry for licensing via the Wap Forum in May 1999. The deadline to sign up for the licence was 1 July 2000, but this has now been extended to 1 September.
Last April, the company was sued by fellow wireless web software developer Phone.com, which claimed that its technology does not infringe on Geoworks' intellectual property and so is not required to license Geoworks' patent. Phone.com also argued that the patent is "invalid and unenforceable".
Two months later Geoworks countersued, arguing that Phone.com's UP Server Suite and UP Browser does infringe on its patent, and challenged Phone.com to "overturn the work of the US Patent Office and the legal presumption of validity".
Geoworks officials said: "Geoworks maintains its belief that the patent is implicated by products and services using the Wap specification. Geoworks holds this patent for core technology for wireless communication devices, including mobile phones, that are based on the Wap specification."
As part of the extension of the licensing terms, companies currently in negotiations with Geoworks will continue to receive the introductory rate of $20,000 for the licence and will not be responsible for any past patent infringement if the contract is signed by 1 September.
After this date, companies will be provided with a three-year contract at a licensing fee of $100,000 and may remain liable for any past infringement of the Geoworks patent. The developer also said that certain server licence rates would not be changed.
The patent is only enforced in the US and Japan, and European companies are not required to license the technology to build Wap applications.
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