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AOL obtains IM patent

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AOL is keeping mum over news that it has acquired the patent for instant messaging (IM). News of its success broke yesterday even though the patent, number 6,449,344, was granted in September.

A spokesman for AOL said the company holds more than 100 patents and no decision has yet been made about what to do with its latest patent. Neither is AOL prepared to say when it might be in a position to make a decision about its IM patent.

However, there's already speculation that AOL could try to obtain revenue by licensing the technology to other IM operators such as Microsoft and Yahoo!.

Failure to cough up could lead to legal action if AOL pursued its claim. Of course, all that is just speculation since, as AOL maintains, it's yet to make a decision on the matter.

Indeed, AOL isn't the only outfit keeping silent, as Microsoft also declined to comment on the news. ®

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