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Really I wouldn't take this seriously until they buy a spellchecker. It looks like a practical joke, but you cant put anything beyond those lawyers.. (sorry lawman!)
joined:Apr 13, 2002
A few (not all) of these companies from Texas go for your wallet with the fierceness of a mugger.
I hope this posting is a gag, because claiming ownership of internal links has got to be the biggest grab SBC has attempted yet. I saw those misspellings too.
First one - Structured document browser [126.96.36.199]
Updated Continuation -Structured document browser [188.8.131.52]
From a quick read, it doesn't look like this patent will hold on internal linking. The claims appear to be directed more at a web browser and how it handles documents.
The subject of the patent is the browser, and a specialized browser at that. A website only provides the data viewed by that browser, which the patent only mentions in passing. The text constantly emphasizes that the patented navigation tools are part of the browser, and not the document. On top of that, they will also have to show that a web browser is a "structured browser", which I somehow doubt. Just that a browser can display structured data doesn't make the browser itself structured.
A Cnet report [news.com.com] entitled "SBC stakes claim on Web frames patent" talks about SBC Communications claiming a patent on frames. They have even sent a letter to one website using frames claiming licences fees which, depending on the site's revenues, could be up to US$50,000,000.
The article also mentions other patent claims including Shopping Carts, One Click Buying, and we all remember the BT Internet claim over Links. Where will is stop?
[oops, added required 0's!]
[edited by: Woz at 2:47 am (utc) on Jan. 22, 2003]
$50 million dollars in licensing fees? Well, I guess I need to remove the remaining framesets that I have out there. ;)
Here's the article [infoworld.com].
Here's the patent [patft.uspto.gov].
I guess we are all infringers now! Brett, you better remove that "menu" from your site or be willing to pay their royalties!
Prior art, anyone? ;)
[edited by: Woz at 10:32 pm (utc) on Jan. 23, 2003]
[edit reason] Shortened URLs [/edit]
SBC wrote a letter to museumtour.com [www2.museumtour.com] praising the site's navigation: "By separating the selectors from the content, Museumtour has truly simplified site navigation and improved the shopping experience for its users." Then they state this practice infringes on their patent and ask the site's owners to choose whether they want to pay an annual or prepaid licensing fee!
It's not clear to me; what exactly is SBC claiming they own the patent for? I can't believe they think they own the rights to any navigation system that enables the user to move around a document that is in another frame? If that's the case, why would they ask this museumtour.com to pay up but not Microsoft, which appears to use a similar approach on its developer site, such as the MSDN Library [msdn.microsoft.com]. Anybody heard anything else about SBC's actions?