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BT enforces its claim over hyperlink patent

BT has filed a lawsuit in New York against US ISP Prodigy Communications alleging infringement of a BT patent which the company says covers hyperlinking. It is the first lawsuit filed by BT to protect its patent, although it has written to numerous ISPs requesting licence payments for the use of the technology.18 Dec 2000

BT announced in June that it has since 1989 owned a US patent that covers the “Hidden Page,” having filed its patent application in 1976. The company says its patent covers hyperlinks which allow people to navigate between pages on the internet. The patent expires in October 2006.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Prodigy which was the first commercial ISP in the US and has an estimated 2.4 million customers. If BT wins the case, it will likely open the flood gates to claims by BT for revenue from the countless US companies that rely on hyperlinking.

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