BT considers legal action over hyperlink patent

'C off up or else

British Telecommunications (BT) is prepared to take legal action against ISPs in the US unless they cough up cash for using hyperlinks.

The monster telco is currently in negotiation with a number of ISPs in the US after it was revealed in June that BT had patented hyperlinks way back in 1976.

The patent was granted in 1989 and is only still valid in the US. Patent 4,873,662 expires in 2006.

A spokesman for BT said: "We would prefer not to litigate but we will if we have to."

BT expects that negotiations with as yet unnamed ISPs will yield a "reasonable royalty" for the use of its intellectual property.

A BT spokesman would not reveal exact amounts but said it would be a "substantial sum of money".

Of course, all this depends on ISPs in the US acknowledging BT's intellectual property and then forking out the cash.

Some industry watchers have scoffed at BT's claim insisting that hyperlinks were formulated by the visionary Ted Nelson in the early 1970s. ®

Are you a US ISP currently being chased by BT to hand over cash for using hyperlinks? Wanna tell us about it?

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