Rob Morris, a resident of Westtown, Pennsylvania, United States, claims that his two man software company called 'V_Graph' created a web browser component, which they called “web widgets”, that would allow developers to add web content to their own applications. They approached Microsoft with intentions to sell it. As much the company liked it, no deal was made but a few months later, Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 3.0 which had a technology which was alike V_Graph.
"Then, as if to add insult to injury, Microsoft filed a patent on the web browser component, even though we'd been selling ours for well over a year. Microsoft was granted US Patent 6,101,510 on August 8, 2000, " Morris said. "That helped them immensely, but it crushed our business." Not only his business, he told VentureBeat that his browser component helped Microsoft partner with AOL and crush Netscape’s Navigator.
The same technology is now being used in other applications, including Android devices. Because of Microsoft's patent license, the company is collecting billions of dollars in royalties.
"We think this bad patent currently affects every smart phone and tablet user in America today. It was annoying when Microsoft started giving this technology away as part of their operating system, but that only hurt my company. Now, they are making billions licensing their patent portfolio, and it makes us mad to think they are charging Android users for this," Morris claimed.
Rob Morris has launched a petition on Indiegogo, calls it 'Free The Browser,' and is asking the public to help him.
"We want to defeat that patent. It will run until 2017, so there is no time to waste. It's hard to recover the past, but we can work together to stop them from charging for this," Morris wrote.
According to his petition, Morris isn't looking for money, but justice for Android users and of-course some reorganization which he believes he rightfully deserves. We've reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update this story when or if we receive it.