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BT pensioner coughs up to hyperlink invention

All he got was a quid

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BT developed the whole idea of hyperlinks simply as a way to get people to use their telephones for longer.

The frank - and wholly obvious admission - was made by 73-year-old Desmond Sargent in an interview in the Guardian.

"Desmond Sargent? Who he?" you might ask.

Well, he's the chap whose name is at the top of BT's patent (number 4,873,662) for "Hidden Pages". He's the one personally responsible for patenting BT's hyperlink claim.

"The idea from the research department's point of view was simply to get people to use more telephone time," he said. "Here was a method by which we could do it."

Shame BT didn't patent another trick that would enable its network to cope with all the increased traffic.

Still, before anyone chucks abuse at Desmond, remember this: when he wrote the patent he receive the grand sum of £1. And that was only because, under US law, he had to receive some token fee. The man still possesses the two 50p postal orders used to seal the deal.

In the unlikely event BT does make a mint from its claim Desmond won't receive a penny. ®

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