WAP FORUM MEMBERS SHARE GOAL OF WIRELESS INTEROPERABILITY
WAP Forum Committed to Members' Intellectual Property Rights London (January 31, 2000) - The WAP Forum today reaffirmed its goal of wireless interoperability and the rights of its members to protect their intellectual property. The WAP Forums purpose is to create a global standard for wireless information and telephony services on digital mobile phones and other wireless terminals. This process of building a standard often includes licensing of intellectual property among individual member companies.
So far, several members of the WAP Forum have filed intellectual property rights claims, including Diversinet, Geoworks, NEC Corporation, Nokia, and Phone.com among others. While it is not the role of the WAP Forum to determine the validity of any IPR claims, normal legal procedures are well established for resolving any conflicts regarding the validity of patents. All of these member companies are in compliance with WAP Forum procedures and have reaffirmed their commitment to the WAP Forum and its goal of creating an industry standard. The WAP Forum does not see any of the claims as inhibitors to advancing the WAP standard.
"The WAP Forum membership is 100 percent committed to creating the standard and building products and services which use it," said Greg Williams, chairman of the WAP Forum. "Each individual member requires standards to ensure interoperability for the success of its own business. That is exactly what the WAP Forum is doing in providing a process for companies to contribute to the standard. Intellectual property cross-licensing arrangements and royalty payments are common in the wireless industry and are a non-issue for the WAP Forum and the growth of the standard."
The charter of the WAP Forum is to bring together companies from all segments of the industry to ensure product interoperability. Industry associations such as the WAP Forum bring together potential competitors to agree on common standards and protocols, guaranteeing interoperability for the benefit of the user. Based on the agreement they signed when they joined the WAP Forum, members are contractually required to cross license essential intellectual property on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms with few exceptions. If members cannot reach agreement on what are fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms they may take the matter to binding arbitration.
"It is not in the best interests of any company setting royalties to have unreasonable high royalties that would inhibit the industry, as ultimately their revenues could decrease," said Elliott Hamilton, Senior Vice President of The Strategis Group. "In addition, if any royalties are seen as unreasonable, then other companies can usually work around a patent and develop a variant of the technology themselves."
The WAP Forum is an industry association that has developed the de-facto world standard for wireless information and telephony services on digital mobile phones and other wireless terminals. Handset manufacturers representing 95 percent of the world market across all technologies have committed to shipping WAP-enabled devices. Carriers representing more than 150 million subscribers worldwide have joined the WAP Forum. WAP Forum membership is open to all industry participants. For further details on the Forum and its members, please visit the Forums Web site at http://www.wapforum.org.
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