more on GeoWorks vs. WAP

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From: Sally Khudairi (
Date: Fri Jan 28 2000 - 00:34:08 PST

Computergram Internationa
Section: 01. Top Stories

WAP License Is Fair and Reasonable Says GeoWorks

By Dan Jones

GeoWorks Inc's recent publication of a royalty and licensing scheme for
wireless application protocol (WAP) software, which was based on its claim
of essential intellectual property rights, has exposed tensions beneath the
surface of the WAP Forum. Some companies belonging to the 120-strong group
have expressed concern, both at the public nature of the claims and the
amounts that GeoWorks wants to charge licensees. The WAP Forum's charter
agreement says companies must license intellectual property at fair and
reasonable rates. GeoWorks says that its terms are fair and reasonable,
others disagree.

GeoWorks is demanding that vendors who develop application and server
software using wireless markup language (WML), the basis of WAP, will must
pay an annual license fee of $20,000 annually. It also said it will charge
users of WAP servers a fee amounting to 10% of the price or a $1 royalty for
each seat or product including licensed software, if the companies have
revenue of over $1m a year. Companies with less than $1m revenue can
negotiate terms with GeoWorks.

GeoWorks says that companies have until July 1 this year to negotiate the
licensing terms with it. Different terms and higher rates may apply to all
licenses executed after that date according to a white paper put out by the
company. As it stands today, GeoWorks'position appears to be that it expects
to reap a license fee for all WAP devices and products.

"Frankly, I think that its unfortunate that they [GeoWorks] are attempting
to try and get money from content vendors and application vendors," said WAP
Forum vice chairman and Inc executive vice president, Chuck
Parrish. Parrish said GeoWorks is acting outside "the spirit of WAP".

GeoWorks merely claims that it is acting within the letter and spirit of the
WAP Forum agreement and that the licensing and royalty terms are both fair
and reasonable. "We are not creating this program out of thin air," said
GeoWorks' general counsel Don Ezzell, "This program is mapped out in WAP
Forum member documents. GeoWorks is a WAP Forum member and we are complying
with this program."

If WAP Forum members can't agree to GeoWorks' terms by the July deadline,
Parrish says that the dispute will go to arbitration and then potentially to
the courts. GeoWorks says that it has no intention of subverting WAP but it
will seek full legal redress against all parties that infringe the GeoWorks

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