Feb 8, 2012. Wired -- Michael Doyle, a low-profile Chicago biologist, claims that it was actually he and two co-inventors who invented — and patented — the “interactive web” before anyone else, while they were employed by the University of California back in 1993. Doyle argues that a program he created at the UC’s San Francisco campus, which allowed doctors to view embryos over the nascent World Wide Web, was the first program that allowed users to interact with images inside of a web browser window. The defendants hotly contest that, saying that it was programs like Pei-Yuan Wei’s pioneering Viola that first offered this functionality.
Several billion of dollars in royalties are at stake in the patent trial that starts this week in Tyler, Texas. The most important defendants are Google, Yahoo, Amazon and other internet giants. Remarkably, Microsoft, which got sued first in 1999, settled several years ago for the estimated $100M.
Of course, this patent trial doesn't threaten the future of the web, as some people would like us to believe. First, it's not about controlling the web or e-commerce. Rather, it's about getting a share of the profits companies make using the technology.
Second, as Wired wrote a year and a half ago, the web is dead anyway. The sooner we move past it, the better.
tags: patent, internet, business, model, innovation, invention, control point, web