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The future of BT's claim that it owns the patent to hyperlinks should be decided soon.

There are indications that a US court is to rule shortly whether to dismiss BT's claim that it owns the patent to hyperlinks - or let the case go to full trial.

The UK telco launched a legal challenge against Prodigy Communications Corp in December 2000.

BT claims it owns the patent for hypertext links or the "hidden page" as it was described in the original patent.

At the time Prodigy - one of the US' biggest ISPs - described the claim as "groundless".

In March this year Judge Colleen McMahon ruled that the patent - filed in 1976 and granted in 1989 - might not actually cover what we know today as "hyperlinks".

This initial ruling was seen as a major blow to BT's claim and following this Prodigy moved to get the case dismissed. A decision whether to dismiss the case - or let it go to trial - is expected this month.

No one at BT or Prodigy was prepared to comment on the case. ®

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