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BT goes to court over hyperlink

 
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From www.contractor.co.uk ...
This week, British Telecom is going to court in a landmark case over the
invention of the "hyperlink", the very essence of the Internet. BT claims to
hold the U.S patent to the most fundamental element of surfing, and if this is
held to be true, it could charge all U.S-based ISP's a fee each time a user
clicks on a link.

http://www.contractoruk.co.uk/news130202.html

[ February 13, 2002: Message edited by: Jim Petersen ]
 
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I will not click this link may be i will be charged also
 
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i dont get it how can you patent the hyperlink? did they invent html? did they invent the browser? did they invent tcp/ip? did they invent dns? did they invent the mouse? they would have had to invent all of that right? i think they will lose. i certainly hope they do the greedy bastards.
 
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You can patent ANYTHING... basically take two things that have never been put together before, and that's patentable....
HP has a big drive for employees to patent things, so they told us about a guy in the mobile team who simply put a business card holder on the back of a Jornada and patented it... turns out a lot of the other PDA makers have taken up the idea and HP makes money off it. Simple simple idea, but hey its patentable... even the IDEA of something is patentable, doesn't even have to be implemented yet.
 
Jim Petersen
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Jessica good case in point about patents
It would seem to me the this seems to ba a case of shutting the gate after the horse has bolted - I heard about this a year ago and had a laugh - it seems to me if BT won this the US ISPs would appeal the decision straight away and the case will be locked up in the courts for years... After which hyperlinks maybe a rendundant technology and we'll all be using the next bright and shiny technology idea!
In the end the only winners will be the lawyers!
 
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This reminds of the case when someone tried suing the M&M candy maker. The claimed to have opened a bag of "plain" M&M's and been expecting to bite down on a plain M&M. But to the dismay of this person, they bit down into a "peanut" M&M. OHHHHH.... the pain and suffering! Tried to sue them for $2.5 million.
 
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Amazing how companies are engaging in battles they will never win. It seems like they have too much money and they don't know what to do with it, so let's waste it.
Anyone can do some research on the Net and find out that the hyperlink has not been invented by BT but by Doug Engelbart back in 1960 (http://www.w3.org/History.html) and invented the mouse at the same time. Even in 1945, a slightly different kind of hyperlink was already present.

...it could charge all U.S-based ISP's a fee each time a user clicks on a link.


Sure, let's do that
Moreover, you can do a search on the US Patents web site using every keyword that makes sense, you won't find that damn patent...
"British Telecom" AND Internet
"British Telecom" AND hyperlink
hyperlink
....
[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: Valentin Crettaz ]
 
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I was reading this on /. Searching for British Telecom and hyperlink won't find it, because it wasn't actually a "hyperlink" that they patented... it was something basically worded like - "A mechanism... blab blab blab... that tranfers data from a remote PC connected to the users PC by a modem... blah blah blah... on the click of a text marker." Or some such legal mumbo-jumbo. I remember the wording of the patent specifically mentioned PCs and modems though, because the "mechanism" being patented was for something basically like a networked card catalog that BT developed in the early 80's. Of course, according to the wording of the patent, even if BT won, it wouldn't be a hyperlink if both ends weren't "PC"'s (i.e. a user on a WAP device, a mainframe level server, etc.), or (most importantly) what the definition of "connected by a modem" implies... the user's PC is connected to the internet by a modem? The whole communication has to take place between modems?

The entire patent process is now just bureaucratic BS. It was initially created to protect "the little guy"... independent inventors... so their ideas couldn't be stolen by competitors with more cash backing. Over the years the laws governing this have been twisted and choked off, so now basically the only "people" who can get and enforce patents are big businesses with major cash backing.

Patents should cover the specific product being developed. There may be some kind of clauses for further innovations, but they should be added on at the time that the holder of the patent develops those innovations. Patents should cover an actual product or documented process. An "idea" should not be patented. Software is a shady area here. Personally, I see it as falling more under a "trademark" area than a patent area... (i.e. - anyone can develop a word processing application... they just can't name it "Microsoft Word". )

A good illustration of this was the infamous Hasbro "Tetris" litigation. Hasbro bought the rights to a lot of older games, and Tetis was one of these. So they decided they wanted to copyright Tetris. No, not just the name... the actual game! They proceded to drive many small time shareware developers of shareware "Blox" type games out of business... not because they were "right", but because they had the financial backing to litigate the smaller developers out of business. Of course, almost all the small time developers settled out of court, and Hasbro sold off it's computer game division (I think to Infogrames... obviously someone at Hasbro didn't know squat about computer games and mismanaged the division...) before any actual cases were tried.

One patent lawyer (on an article linked to in the /. discussion) provided a good illustration of this problem in the current patent laws. (Scarily enough... he talked about this like it was a good thing...) Basically, he said that the idea behind a patent was to protect your idea against future inventions that may be similiar to your product. So, if you were the guy who developed, say, the hot air baloon, you could sue the inventors of the zepplin, airplane, helicopter, and space shuttle for infringing on your patent for a "flying machine". This is pure BS and indicates the state of the world now. It's too late to work within the system to improve it, and it's too early to start shooting people in the streets.

-Nate
 
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Companies like this are trying to hijack the entire internet and World Wide Web!
If any of us said we own the "concept" of the Windows GUI we would be laughed at, but if you are a big corp and can hire a sleezy viper blue tongued lawyer (I HATE LAWYERS!).
 
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