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Berners-Lee: patented technology impedes mobile web

John Riley

Patented technology is a major obstacle to development of a mobile web, Tim Berners-Lee, founding father of the world wide web, said yesterday.

Speaking at the Pinkerton lecture of the Institution of Engineering and Technology in London last night (20 September), Berners-Lee said that the mobile web has been sealed inside a "walled garden" for a long time.

"Although mobile and XHTML now connects to everything a lot of the technology is proprietary and therefore difficult to integrate. Patents get in the way of everything and block the view," he said.

Berners-Lee urged the mobile web community to take note of the experience of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3).

Supplier patents had made it difficult for the World Wide Web Consortium, which has a strict open IP environment, to bring wider functionality and capabilities to the web.

But, Berners-Lee said, supplier CEOs eventually realised that although they might have 95% of a select market with their web products, they stood to gain about 60% of a considerably larger market if they opened up their patents to the W3C.

Patents turn technology into a gravy train for suppliers, said Beners-Lee. They make a lot of money, but there is no connectivity, he said.

Berners Lee said that integration of video is also difficult owing to the patents on video codexes.


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