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T O P I C
Clickety Click!
June 20th 2000, 23:48 CEST by andy

Earlier this month, British phone giant BT scored a huge popularity boost by introducing flat-rate Internet access. And to make up for the short-term profit hit, the company has decided to call in some long-overdue debts by licensing its eleven year old patent on hyperlinks. Good timing, eh?



For years, geeks and porn freaks in the UK have been demanding low-cost unmetered access to the Net. Over the last year those demands were echoed by government, industry, the telecommunications watchdog Oftel and the ever-so-slightly biased Murdoch media. (Murdoch owns several ISP's.)

To cut a long story short, late last year BT agreed to provide flat-rate access, and a few weeks ago finally made its Surftime scheme available to ISP's who can then in turn provide their customers with unmetered access.

At the moment, this puts BT in the rare position of not being despised. At least for a couple of months. And coincidentally they've chosen this time to go after ISP's in the US with what, it appears, is a patent on hyperlinks.

This whole thing is curious to say the least. I'm not going to argue about the legalities -- if they own the patent then they own the patent, end of story -- but the way things have been done is very suspicious.

Why allow the patent to stand for eleven years without enforcing it? BT claims that it was forgotten until three years ago, and explains that since then there has been preparation work for the licensing demands. According to a BT spokesman: "It takes a long time to prepare a licensing programme of this magnitude."

Okay, but THREE YEARS? What kind of lawyers are these guys using? How inefficient is their administration department? What did they do, put a load of monkeys in a room with some typewriters and check back every month? How can it take three years for one of the richest companies in the world to come up with a licensing contract?

Assuming that the three years claim is vastly exaggerated, let's consider why BT has decided to wait so long before doing this...

One possible explanation is that during a recent libel case in the UK, the court set a precedent by ruling that ISP's are, once on notice, regarded in law as the publisher of material hosted on their servers. Maybe BT is hoping that a similar view will be taken in claims of patent infringement?

BT has already made it clear that they will not initially be targeting individual people and will only go after ISP's. If an ISP pays the license fee, its users can continue to use hyperlinks; if it doesn't, there's a chance of the courts ruling that the ISP is infringing BT's patent, and that could be very bad for the ISP's business.

Worse still, if a certain ISP doesn't pay the license, BT could still choose to go after that ISP's customers individually.

The hyperlink license could become a standard feature across the industry. Just imagine: "We offer daily backups, guaranteed service levels, access statistics... and we are hyperlink licensed!" Potential customers shopping around for the best deal would expect an ISP to have paid the license fee; if not, they'd go elsewhere.

Will ISP's risk the threat of lost custom and possible compensation claims, or will they pay the patent fee? Your guess is as good as mine, but I expect we're both guessing that they'll pay. (Following a similar case in which Unisys enforced its patent of the compression algorithm used in GIF images, over 2,000 companies paid the license fee.)

There's a bright side to all of this, though. Sort of...

Thanks to the ruling about ISP's being responsible for material on their servers, many British web sites have relocated to the States. If BT's patent claim is successful then web sites in the US may decide to move elsewhere.

Mexico... Iceland... Sweden... where will everyone go?! The first country to offer web sites a safe-haven from court interference could earn itself a dominant position in the new economy.

--

More information is available in this BBC news item.

C O M M E N T S
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#1 by "Andy"
2000-06-20 23:52:12
andy@planetcrap.com
I could hardly stay awake while writing this, and I fell asleep twice while proof-reading it, so it might not make much sense. But a few people asked us to cover this story so I wanted to get it online before I go to bed.

Night all. :)
#2 by "Seth Krieg"
2000-06-20 23:53:51
seth@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
I can't believe this actually turned out to be legitimate, I thought morn was trying to trick us into posting something that he saw at the Register.

I'm also looking into attaining a patent of "First POST!"

lordy.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#3 by "Andy"
2000-06-20 23:58:53
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#2</b>, Seth Krieg:
<QUOTE>
I can't believe this actually turned out to be legitimate, I thought morn was trying to trick us into posting something that he saw at the Register.
</QUOTE>
Tell me about it. I didn't take it seriously at all until I saw it on the BBC's site. I don't know which is most weird... patenting hyperlinks, or The Register getting a story right.
#4 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-06-21 00:17:30
tc10@spammeandfeelpainlikenootherpain.st-andrews.a http://www.fisty.com/~tom
Three years... my guess, albeit a cynical one, is that it took them those three years to go through every patent owned by BT (which adds up to, presumably, a not inconsiderable number), and find in them anything that could be construed as being a patent on some piece of computer technology. Most modern computer technologies are so nebulous and conceptual anyway, that this really wouldn't have been too much of a stretch, given a vague similarity in any one of the patents. For example - Amazon's notorious OneClick patent is really just the idea of buying something by clicking one button. I do that every time I buy a can of Coke from a machine :)
My point is really that any corporation with a large enough collection of patents could probably do this just as easily. I suspect in this case that BT are merely trying to grab headlines, and won't do much in the way of enforcement of these licences - especially since they admit from the start that they're only targetting other businesses with it.
Anyway, there's a large chunk of my thumb missing, and that makes it not only bastard-hard, but quite painful, to type, so I shall take my leave :)
#5 by "Seth Krieg"
2000-06-21 00:28:06
seth@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<b>#4</b> "Tom Cleghorn" wrote -
<QUOTE>  especially since they admit from the start that they're only targetting other businesses with it.
Anyway, there's a large chunk of my thumb missing, </QUOTE>

That'll teach you not to feed the trolls. ;)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#6 by "crash"
2000-06-21 00:36:40
crash@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
<i>I could hardly stay awake while writing this...</i>

that's okay--i barely stayed awake reading it. what we seem to have here is speculation based on a possibility of a court case that has not only not been scheduled, but hasn't even been announced. and the likelihood of this farce even making it to trial is slim at best.

in related news: <a href="http://www.theonion.com/onion3311/microsoftpatents.html" target="_blank">Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes</a>

**yawnnn**

ok. i'm done now.
#7 by "Greg"
2000-06-21 00:48:07
Andy wrote:

<QUOTE>One possible explanation is that during a recent libel case in the UK, the court set a precedent by ruling that ISP's are, once on notice, regarded in law as the publisher of material hosted on their servers. Maybe BT is hoping that a similar view will be taken in claims of patent infringement?</QUOTE>

I may be mistaken, but I believe in the US ISPs are not legally responsible for hosted materials by default. I think they have to comply (under the dreaded DMCA) to remove (add your favorite negative word here) material upon complaint.

My point is, that it seems to be the reverse of the UK. So why would they assume the hyperlink would follow?

Also, is BT going to go after the big names, like AOL/Time Warner and AT+T?

Greg
#8 by "Darkseid"
2000-06-21 00:58:51
Darkseid-D@planetcrap.com http://www.captured.com/boomstick
Point

read the patent

it specifically says _keyboard_


query, how many of you actually utilise the keyboard to naviate url links ?

query, since an isp is a purveyor of information and _not_ responsible in the greater part for the use of its service, much like the postal service cannot be prosecuted for carrying things like porn vhs tapes, what ground does BT have to challenged the ISP component.


BT - vs Worldcomm, Sprint, AT&T, Time Warner, Aol, Microsoft, Road Runner

hrm ... BT might just find itself outgunned .. its certainly outfunded.


point, anyone else remember the debacle with Compusys and the GIF patent.



Ds<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#9 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-06-21 01:14:41
<b>#8</b> "Darkseid" wrote...
<quote>point, anyone else remember the debacle with Compusys and the GIF patent. </quote>
 

remember?  wtf man, it's not over.


Patents are incredibly counter productive and stifling when utilized in this way.  this type of moronic attempt at trying to claim ownership of a technology they had absolutely no hand in inventing or implementing is exactly what the retarded patent system needs before the idiotic US government finally sits up and realizes how overdue an overhaul really is.
 

 
<a href="http://www.userfriendly.org/cartoons/archives/00mar/uf001619.gif"></a>

________________________________
<b>dumb·ass</b> <i>(Düm-èSS)</i> n. - Anyone who doesn't agree with me.
 
<a href="http://hammer.prohosting.com/~badcrc/Bad_CRC.gif"></a><I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#10 by "Andy"
2000-06-21 01:28:11
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#9</b>, Bad_CRC:
<QUOTE>
this type of moronic attempt at trying to claim ownership of a technology they had <b>absolutely no hand in inventing or implementing</b>
</QUOTE>
Wouldn't it be more fun is you knew what you were talking about? Follow the BBC link. It's all explained there, near the end.
#11 by "Sgt Hulka"
2000-06-21 01:53:51
sgt_hulka@yahoo.com http://www.hulka.com
I'm in the process of patenting "ROCK!"

If so, those GSI Bastards are mine!!!  Bwhahahahaha!
#12 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-06-21 02:00:46
please be so kind as to explain exactly where it says they invented it...  That story appears to me to give credit to someone else.
 
One of us is being an idiot here.
 
I hope it's you.


________________________________
<b>dumb·ass</b> <i>(Düm-èSS)</i> n. - Anyone who doesn't agree with me.
 
<a href="http://hammer.prohosting.com/~badcrc/Bad_CRC.gif"></a><I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#13 by "Andy"
2000-06-21 02:13:03
andy@planetcrap.com
From the BBC story:
<quote>
The original patent was filed after work done on text based information systems such as Prestel by the General Post Office (GPO).

The GPO was split into BT and the Post Office in 1981.

Just as hyperlinks now let people navigate around the internet, this early work helped users retrieve information from computers they were indirectly connected to.
</quote>
It then goes on to explain how this is disputed.
#14 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-06-21 02:15:35
good.
 
that means you are the idiot.  *whew*
 
you convieniently twiseted the story, and left out the part saying
 
<quote>Despite BT's claims to the contrary, Tim Berners-Lee is usually credited with inventing the global hypertext system that became the world wide web.

Mr Berners-Lee says that in creating the WWW he drew on the work of computing pioneer Ted Nelson - who is widely regarded as the father of hypertext.

</quote>
 
but hey, you are you...

:)

________________________________
<b>dumb·ass</b> <i>(Düm-èSS)</i> n. - Anyone who doesn't agree with me.
 
<a href="http://hammer.prohosting.com/~badcrc/Bad_CRC.gif"></a><I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#15 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-06-21 02:21:53
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#14</b> "Bad_CRC" wrote...
<QUOTE>

good.

that means you are the idiot. *whew*

you convieniently twiseted the story, and left out the part saying


<quote>Despite BT's claims to the contrary, Tim Berners-Lee is usually credited with inventing the global hypertext system that became the world wide web.

Mr Berners-Lee says that in creating the WWW he drew on the work of computing pioneer Ted Nelson - who is widely regarded as the father of hypertext.

</quote>

</QUOTE>


remember that being the first to invent something means dick unless you patent it, especially when someone else patents it first. Consider Amazons "One Click" patent; There was prior art and lots of it but they got the patent and thus can force others to shutdown. The only way to combat this is with costly legal proceedings that most companies are not willing to front.

Don't worry thou other companies have patented "0 click" and "2 click" systems and at least one of them (Sun who got the "0 click" patent) can afford to piss off to many companies at this point in time.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#16 by "catfoochoo"
2000-06-21 02:22:45
catfoochoo@yahoo.com
They explain why it took so long right here:

<i>The growing popularity of the internet has
              spurred it to capitalise on the patent.

              "It is only now that the world wide web has
              become commercially significant," said a BT
              spokesman</i>

nuff said.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#17 by "Andy"
2000-06-21 02:23:01
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#14</b>, Bad_CRC:
<QUOTE>
you convieniently twiseted the story, and left out the part saying
</QUOTE>
No, I said:
<QUOTE>
It then goes on to explain how this is disputed.
</QUOTE>
I only quoted the part with the information you asked for. I knew the next bit was relevant so I made a point of referring to it.
#18 by "hunchback"
2000-06-21 02:24:32
danerat@mindspring.com http://www2.ucsc.edu/~erat/
Darkseid, #8:
<quote>query, how many of you actually utilise the keyboard to naviate url links ?</quote>
Gasp!  Does this mean I can no longer use lynx or w3m to visit pages on the web?  Cursed GUIs!  My condolences, emacs users.

Have any of these ridiculous patents actually been upheld in court?  I'm not saying an overhaul of the system isn't necessary; I'm just wondering if there have been any negative effects yet.
#19 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-06-21 02:27:07
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#18</b> "hunchback" wrote...
<QUOTE>Have any of these ridiculous patents actually been upheld in court? I'm not
saying an overhaul of the system isn't necessary; I'm just wondering if there
have been any negative effects yet. </QUOTE>

Because they are held by very strong companies with deep pockets I don't think any of them have been significantly challenged.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#20 by "None-1a"
2000-06-21 03:49:37
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
<b>#19</b> "RahvinTaka" wrote...
<QUOTE>Because they are held by very strong companies with deep pockets I don't think any of them have been significantly challenged.</QUOTE>

This time it's the other way around sort of. After all combined all of the ISP and servers that use hyperlinks defenitly make much more money then BT does.

Second I remember some thing like this a while ago, some guy tryed to clam he owned the patint on digitizing objects into the computer (the patint had some thing to do with digitizing plays US football games into a computer from the play book) I belive the courts ruled aginst the guy (stating some thing about no enforncing the patint for so long when people where using the ideas the whole time). The hyperlink thing would should end up the same way (courts generaly don't care if you lost the original papers).

That brings up one other thing why would you spend the time and money to get a patint then just up and lose the thing for so long, expicaly after he companies brake up which would have resulted in all of the papers being sorted out.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#21 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-06-21 03:52:04
the new crapspy is cool.
 
everybody come to IRC!!!!
 

:)



________________________________
<b>dumb·ass</b> <i>(Düm-èSS)</i> n. - Anyone who doesn't agree with me.
 
<a href="http://hammer.prohosting.com/~badcrc/Bad_CRC.gif"></a><I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#22 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-06-21 04:00:51
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#20</b> "None-1a" wrote...
<QUOTE>That brings up one other thing why would you spend the time and money to get a
patint then just up and lose the thing for so long, expicaly after he companies
brake up which would have resulted in all of the papers being sorted out.</QUOTE>

it increases value of company significantly basically. A friends company just payed for the privlidge of putting patent pending everywhere (ie not even having the patent) and the company got sold of in a matter of weeks quite a bit higher than it was worth pre patent-pending :P<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#23 by "None-1a"
2000-06-21 04:09:13
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
<b>#22</b> "RahvinTaka" wrote...
<QUOTE>it increases value of company significantly basically. A friends company just payed for the privlidge of putting patent pending everywhere (ie not even having the patent) and the company got sold of in a matter of weeks quite a bit higher than it was worth pre patent-pending :P</QUOTE>

I'd assume that going after the patent pending would have been done had the plan be to sell the comapny (after all it's a lot cheaper then going for the full thing, and doing the search/cross search process, and every doler spent on that cuts into the sale profits). My best guess what be that since BT lost the thing any judge in his right mind would just say that they never had any intention of enforcing the thing in the first place (unless of course they end up with another judge Jackson)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#24 by "L0cksm1th"
2000-06-21 05:38:05
l0cksm1th@rocketjump.co.uk http://www.rocketjump.co.uk
Can I just double check...

this is a patent on a link right?  Like 'go to this page/file' link?

I'm sure it must be something far more complex, maybe on another planet even, that just happens to sound awfully similiar; otherwise it just sounds crazy :)
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#25 by "None-1a"
2000-06-21 05:56:06
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
Just for discusion here is the abstract of the patent.

<i>Informaton for display at a terminal apparatus of a computer is stored in blocks the first part of which contains the information which is actually displayed at the terminal and the second part of which contains information relating to the display and which may be used to influence the display at the time or in response to a keyboard entry signal. For example, the second part of the block could include information for providing the complete address of an another block which would be selected by the operation of a selected key of the keyboard. The second part of the block could alternatively influence the format and/or color of the display at the terminal. When a block is read from the store of the computer the second part is retained in another store which may be located in the terminal or in the computer itself or perhaps both. The invention is particularly useful in reducing the complexity of the operating protocol of the computer.</i>

Holy crap (should have read this earlyer), any one relise the number of potinital things this alows them to go after if upheld, shortcuts comes to mind off hand (and possible the FAT system it self if you push it).<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#26 by "L0cksm1th"
2000-06-21 06:03:28
l0cksm1th@rocketjump.co.uk http://www.rocketjump.co.uk
There'd be a zillion ways any decent lawyer could get round it tho.  Doesn't sound water tight :)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#27 by "Serpwidgets"
2000-06-21 10:25:27
serpwidgets@hotmail.com http://people.ce.mediaone.net/serpwidgets/index.ht
Patents are very specific. They seem to be almost talking about "Function Keys" (<i>The second part of the block could alternatively influence the format and/or color of the display at the terminal.</i>) as much as "Hyperlinks" as we know them.

And the point about the keyboard is a good one, because that might be enough of a technicality to keep them from being able to enforce it.

This really does sound more like Hotkeys or Function Keys the more I read it. The whole description reminds me of the old AS400 terminals.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#28 by "Andy"
2000-06-21 11:37:43
andy@planetcrap.com
Sometimes I have to wonder... why were people so anxious for this to be a thread, but hardly anyone has anything to say about it? Not a single one of the people who asked me to post it have said anything so far.
#29 by "Desiato"
2000-06-21 14:22:34
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com
They were probably just baiting you.

Desiato
#30 by "Wrynn"
2000-06-21 15:23:28
webmaster@quake3mods.net http://www.quake3mods.net
andy i think u should setup user accounts for the comments system and a script that emails you replies to your post that contain your nick or post # in it.  this way i can be as lazy as possible, thanks!
#31 by "Vengeance[CoD]"
2000-06-21 15:50:11
rhiggi@home.com
<b>#28</b> "Andy" wrote...
<QUOTE>

Sometimes I have to wonder... why were people so anxious for this to be a thread, but hardly anyone has anything to say about it? Not a single one of the people who asked me to post it have said anything so far.
</QUOTE>

You should know better than to do another "but it'll never happen topic" :-)

They <b>really</b> need to revamp the patent system here in the US.  I've long dreamed of patenting the process of breathing (but we already had a thread about that).... sigh.

V<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#32 by "netgee"
2000-06-21 19:42:47
ryan@shiftclick.net
<quote>Mexico... Iceland... Sweden... where will everyone go?! The first country to offer web sites a safe-haven from court interference could earn itself a dominant position in the new economy.</quote>

Sealand.  An abandoned offshore oil-mining rig about 6 miles off of the eastern UK shore.  Founded as a sovereign country in 1967, Sealand recently agreed to allow "HavenCo" to setup the world's most secure data storage facility, completely free from the laws of other countries.

Take a look at <a href="http://www.sealandgov.com/">www.sealandgov.com</a> and <a href="http://www.havenco.com/">www.havenco.com</a> for more info.

Or, read about them in the July '00 issue of Wired (cover story).

--gee
#33 by "Andy"
2000-06-21 19:51:45
andy@planetcrap.com
<b>#32</b>, netgee:
<QUOTE>
Sealand.
</QUOTE>
I was thinking about that place (although I heard about it under a different name) but I avoided mentioning it because I didn't have any info links and I didn't want to have to explain what it was.

It's got its own navy, hasn't it?! I heard that they fired warning shots at a British patrol boat that wandered a bit too close.

When I first heard that they were going to provide Net hosting services my immediate thought was that their plan would be, basically, to profit from crime. But apparently they have a strict rule against child porn and piracy so that's good -- an anti-censorship policy that doesn't help criminals. Nice one.

Interesting stuff.
#34 by "Tom Cleghorn"
2000-06-21 19:58:31
tc10@spammeandfeelpainlikenootherpain.st-andrews.a http://www.fisty.com/~tom
<quote>It's got its own navy, hasn't it?! I heard that they fired warning shots at a British patrol boat that wandered a bit too close.</quote>

Insofaras a man with a .22 rifle on a rowing boat is a navy, yeah :)
Seriously, I think there aren't many more people than an extended family and a few hangers-on living there, if it's the place I know of (haven't glanced at the site yet. So sue me (don't)).

:)
#35 by "Seth Krieg"
2000-06-21 20:04:35
seth@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
I have a feeling this'll never go through. Reason? Our lovely government uses the internet too, and they've actually moderated the chance of any kind of "internet tax" to being nihil. The patent office is an office too, remember that. :)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#36 by "crash"
2000-06-21 21:41:46
crash@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
something about crappy patents from last month's wired:

<a href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.06/patents.html" target="_blank">you know the drill</a>.

pretty interesting stuff.
#37 by "L0cksm1th"
2000-06-22 01:13:01
l0cksm1th@rocketjump.co.uk http://www.rocketjump.co.uk
I'm no lawyer, this is speculation :)

If they haven't patented the A tag then what can they do?

A bit of html means nothing and contains no hyperlinks.  Therefore an isp with a shed load of html documents can't be touched.  After all, they're nothing but text documents, right?
I can't ever remember linking from one page to another when I'm viewing html in notepad, can you?

A hyperlink is only born once the html has been processed into a web page, most often by a web browser.  So maybe BT can get Microsoft and the Netscape guys to pay a licence but I think on that basis alone, isp's are free from any enforcement.

You reckon?<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#38 by "marklerhmann"
2000-06-22 01:19:13
marklehrmann@yahoo.com
I heard about this from a comment on another board.

Something to the effect:

Let'm win,, then file a class action law suit for all those damned broken links
#39 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-06-22 02:36:29
<b>#38</b> "marklerhmann" wrote...
<quote>Let'm win,, then file a class action law suit for all those damned broken links </quote>

that is classic.  :)
 


________________________________
<b>dumb·ass</b> <i>(Düm-èSS)</i> n. - Anyone who doesn't agree with me.
 
<a href="http://hammer.prohosting.com/~badcrc/Bad_CRC.gif"></a><I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#40 by "G-Man"
2000-06-22 02:42:44
jonmars@shiftlock.org http://www.shiftlock.org
<b>#32</b> "netgee" wrote...
<QUOTE>Sealand. An abandoned offshore oil-mining rig about 6 miles off of the eastern UK shore. Founded as a sovereign country in 1967, Sealand recently agreed to allow "HavenCo" to setup the world's most secure data storage facility, completely free from the laws of other countries.</QUOTE>
This is pretty silly. It's much more sensible to launch a satellite, or a distributed packet switching radio network. Buy (or steal) some spectrum, a slight hack to mobile phones, and voila.

 - [g.man]<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#41 by "RzE"
2000-06-22 07:20:43
rze@counter-strike.net http://csnation.counter-strike.net
I don't think any company is stupid enough to actually try to enforce this, it will piss off end users..

I mean, the majority of Windows users do not HATE it. It would be a PR nightmare.
#42 by "Johan"
2000-06-22 11:58:06
johan@innerloop.no
They will probably fail to enforce the patent because of what I call "The natural law of anal-retentiveness." =) If you sue someone for something anal, you need to have more expensive lawyers than the person/corporation you're suing. BT hasn't got the dough to play and win the corporate law-game with major players like AOL. IMHO.
#43 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-06-22 12:04:41
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#42</b> "Johan" wrote...
<QUOTE>

They will probably fail to enforce the patent because of what I call "The natural law of anal-retentiveness." =) If you sue someone for something anal, you need to have more expensive lawyers than the person/corporation you're suing. BT hasn't got the dough to play and win the corporate law-game with major players like AOL. IMHO.
</QUOTE>

the problem will be they won't go after AOl at first. They will target lesser companies (who will undoubtably fail the court challenge) and then use these court cases as precedence.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#44 by "None-1a"
2000-06-22 12:10:51
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
<b>#43</b> "RahvinTaka" wrote...
<QUOTE>the problem will be they won't go after AOl at first. They will target lesser companies (who will undoubtably fail the court challenge) and then use these court cases as precedence.</QUOTE>

In order to set a precendence you've got to get the case to the higher courts, so they'd have to go after medium sized companies that'd be willing to push it up the chain. second I belive there are preceedence that say when a patent isn't enforced and becomes widly used the patent become uninforcable (which would be the case here). <I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#45 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-06-22 12:16:55
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#44</b> "None-1a" wrote...
<QUOTE>In order to set a precendence you've got to get the case to the higher courts,
so they'd have to go after medium sized companies that'd be willing to push it
up the chain.</QUOTE>
didn't know that ... hmmmm ... maybe different in my country thou (or perhaps a company just got screwed).

<QUOTE>second I belive there are preceedence that say when a patent isn't
enforced and becomes widly used the patent become uninforcable (which would be
the case here). </QUOTE>

Yup but there is also a case for people letting it lie and then deciding to enforce it later (mp3, gif are two I can think of). It would basically come down to who has the better lawyers<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
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