A pretty exciting scene took place in Tyler, Texas recently. In a lawsuit brought against some big Internet names including Google, Amazon and Yahoo by Eolas, a company with a patent on the "interactive web," the star expert witness was the guy who actually did invent the World Wide Web. (And no, it wasn't Al Gore!)
Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web back in the early 1990s, was that witness. But when asked by Jennifer Doan, the attorney for defendants Yahoo and Amazon, if he'd applied for a patent on the World Wide Web, he replied that he hadn't.
“The internet was already around," Berners-Lee said rather humbly. "I was taking hypertext, and it was around a long time too. I was taking stuff we knew how to do…. All I was doing was putting together bits that had been around for years in a particular combination to meet the needs that I have.”
And who owns the Internet? Berners-Lee says "we do" - meaning everyone who uses it.
“The web we all own, is it ‘interactive’?” asked Doan.
“It is pretty interactive, yeah,” said Berners-Lee with a smile. (Hat tip: Wired.com)
The eight-person jury took only a few hours to deliberate before declaring the lawsuit without merit. Internet companies big and small can now breathe a sigh of relief, because a win for Eolas would have meant that any website using "interactive" features such as streaming video or clickable pictures could be a target for a lawsuit.