Feeds

BT still chasing cash for hyperlink patent

Will they never give up?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

BT is still trying to extract megabucks from US ISPs following the telco's patent claim to hypertext links - and it's prepared to taken legal action if those fingered don't cough up.

The telco also refuses to discuss the cases of others who believe they created hypertext before BT patented its version in 1976, despite film footage which many believe undermines BT's claim.

News that BT owned the rights to hypertext became public knowledge in June after UK-based licensing company, Scipher, announced it was acting on behalf of BT to realise the financial potential of the BT's patent.

In an announcement today Scipher confirms that it was still "actively carrying out this commission", scotching mischievous speculation that BT's claim was little more than a hoax.

No one from Scipher was available by press time to explain exactly what progress had been made during the last six months.

Scipher execs were, apparently, busy explaining to analysts why the company had made an operating loss of £5.8 million for the six months ended September 30.

However, a spokesman for BT, said: "We remain in discussion with a number of US ISPs. Although we've made no legal threats yet - we still don't rule out litigation."

Asked whether BT accepted that others might have a genuine claim to hypertext, he said that he was not prepared to comment about what other people thought about the validity of BT's claim.

"We maintain that we have a good case," he said.

With such stonewalling from both sides (The Reg would still like to hear from any US ISPs which have been collared by BT) it could be years before this matter is resolved. Then again, something might happen next week - we just don't know.

However, until this matter is resolved the speculation and arguments will continue.

BT claims that a patent filed in 1976 - and granted in 1989 - proves it owns the intellectual property rights to hyperlinks - those natty little devices that link Web content together.

The patent was lodged following work on text-based online information systems Viewdata and Prestel by the General Post Office (GPO) before it was split into the Post Office and BT.

The patent has expired everywhere except in the US, where it still has a few years left to run. ®

Related Stories

BT claims ownership of hyperlinks
BT invented hyperlinks shock
BT could face legal action over hyperlink claim
Film evidence challenges BT's claim to hypertext patent

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.