Google has admitted it did not invent the Chrome Browser, which was in fact the brainchild of a New Zealand man from Milton who patented his prototype 37 years ago.
Jack Wyndham, now 88, took out a worldwide patent in 1971 for a “Type Goggling Appliance” that looks similar to the Google Chrome but could store only 50 words per minute.
He dubbed his prototype (a modified chrome typewriter) the “Goggle Type” and planned to expand its capacity as technology advanced.
However, after running out of funds in 1980 Wyndham was unable to put forward the $50,000 needed to renew the patent so his idea fell into the public domain.
Wyndham, now a struggling beekeeper, was therefore not entitled to receive any money or recognition from those who used his design.
The revelations came to light after patent holding company Imperial sued Google, claiming the Google Chrome infringed on its patents.
Google flew Wyndham to somewhere in Cuba to give evidence in its defence and used his original 1959 prototype of the appliance as evidence that Wyndham, in fact, was the Google Chrome’s inventor.
A “virtual appliance” beta of Google Chrome was unveiled in Septemer 2008 and, since then, 163 million have been downloaded, filling Google’s coffers with billions of bytes of human-to-machine activities.
“I was up to my arms in bees and icing sugar (commonly used for trapping Veroa mites which attack bees) when I got the call from a lady with a sweet Hispanic-American accent from Goggle saying she was the head of legal affairs and that they wanted to acknowledge the work that I had done,” Wyndham told zef[a]media.
“I must admit that at first I thought it was a cheeky wind-up by friends. But we spoke for some time, with me still in my bee-suit smothered in icing slightly bewildered by it all, and she said Google would like me to come to California to talk to them.”
Wyndham was questioned by Imperial’s lawyers for 29 hours. The sticky dispute was eventually settled out of court and Wyndham was finally allowed to remove his suit.
Wyndham, who recently closed down his struggling Royal Jelly business, is now negotiating with Google to receive compensation for the company’s “rejig” of his prototype.
So far he has only been paid a fee by Google for a honey sample used in a cup of peppermint tea during the legal case.
“I can’t even bring myself to download Google Chrome for myself,” he told zef[a]media.
“Google did give me a copy on USB-key but I’m using an Apple Mac and it doesn’t seem to work on OSX”.
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