"Geoworks has claimed intellectual property rights to certain key parts of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) technology, and wants $20,000 per year from each manufacturer using WAP technology in their products.
"The claim was made in a letter sent on Wednesday to the WAP Forum, a group of the major companies that have been developing and deploying WAP technology.
"WAP is the protocol technology being used my virtually all of the manufacturers of wireless devices, from phones to Palm-sized computers.
"According to Eddie Hold, a senior analyst of wireless services for Current Analysis, a Virginia-based firm specializing in watching and reporting on the telecommunications industry, "The result could be total fragmentation of the wireless Web market."
"In an interview with Newsbytes, Hold said that Geoworks is asking a license fee of $20,000 per year from each manufacturer using WAP technology in their products.
"This is like Tim Berners-Lee asking for a license from everyone interested in using the Web," Hold said. "Geoworks decision to charge a license fee will kill-off much of the innovation necessary to build the wireless Web."
"Hold told Newsbytes that as far as he knew, there has been no response to the Geoworks claim by any member of the WAP Forum, or any WAP user. He found this "interesting," he said.