BT will press on with US hyperlink lawsuit

British Telecom chairman, Christopher Bland said that BT will press ahead with its patent-infringement lawsuit against Prodigy...

British Telecom chairman, Christopher Bland said that BT will press ahead with its patent-infringement lawsuit against Prodigy Communications, even if the case brings BT bad publicity.

In the lawsuit, BT alleges that it owns the patent to hyperlink technology and that the US-based Internet service provider (ISP) is using the technology without authorisation.

BT contends that in 2000 it discovered that it holds US patent 4,873,662 for the invention of hyperlink technology used to link Web pages and on 13 December 2000, BT filed suit in federal court in New York.

Bland said: "The idea of dropping the suit to increase the 'feelgood' factor with ISPs in the US would be a bizarre notion for us here in the UK".

After discovering that it owned the patent for the hyperlink, BT wrote to 17 US ISPs, including Prodigy, asking them to pay for the privilege of using the technology through licensing agreements. The suit filed against Prodigy, which claims to be the largest consumer DSL ISP in the US as well as the first commercial ISP in the US, is the first suit BT has filed to protect its hyperlink patent.

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