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SBC enforcing patent claims on internal links

from the prior-art? department

     
2:45 pm on Jan 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

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SBC has been sending out form letters to small websites over a putative claim they have over the use of internal links [museumtour.com] that SBC inherited when they purchased Ameritech. They're going for the small fish first and then working up to the big guys. Come on ... prior art?
2:59 pm on Jan 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So SBC Communications cannot spell also? At least two major bloopers there from what I saw. It sounds like it's "links on frames" or "links in includes" that they are claiming to own patent on.

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!)

3:04 pm on Jan 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

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BACKGROUND: SBC is the latest in a long line of Texas corporate greed (think enron, el paso gas, halliburton).

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.

3:14 pm on Jan 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

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When is everybody and in particular the big fish going tell this kind of companies 'tough' (I try keeping it polite ;) )
What would they do; take the whole world to court? Let them try it.
3:18 pm on Jan 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Here are the referred patents:

First one - Structured document browser [164.195.100.11]

Updated Continuation -Structured document browser [164.195.100.11]

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.

4:43 pm on Jan 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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in the same style as BT and the hypertext link case, SBC and "structured document browser" patent

[theinquirer.net...]

DaveN

4:47 pm on Jan 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Read it a few days ago, i don't know where the patent thing is heading, Hyperlinking is Patented, E-Commerce is patented, that pretty much makes the whole web useless doesn't it?
5:11 pm on Jan 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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well bt lost the hyperlinking case

and I think SBC will follow suit this is more about PR than Profit.

DaveN

5:17 pm on Jan 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Doesn't look to me like that one will fly any more than BTs hypertext nonsense.

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.

Woz

2:25 am on Jan 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We all know that Frames *can* be bad for SERP position, it appears they can also be bad for your bank balance, but from an unexpected source.

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?

Onya
Woz

[oops, added required 0's!]

[edited by: Woz at 2:47 am (utc) on Jan. 22, 2003]

2:36 am on Jan 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Where will is stop?

Somewhere beyond all of us, I'm afraid.

Pendanticist.

2:44 am on Jan 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I just lost any respect that I had for SBC. As mentioned in the article, these types of patent infringement cases are stifling innovation. The website mentioned in the article has removed the framesets.

$50 million dollars in licensing fees? Well, I guess I need to remove the remaining framesets that I have out there. ;)

6:58 am on Jan 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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yeah, but then you'll only be threaten because of the 'air breathing patent'-infringement, or to drink water against thirst. you never know... ;)
9:26 pm on Jan 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Those banner companies that use i-frames will have something to chew over now then.

Could 'shared borders' be making a comeback? :)

5:59 pm on Jan 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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This really makes me angry. Grr!

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]

10:04 pm on Jan 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

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SBC shaking down small businesses with patent for icon-based navigation [playbacktime.com]

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?

 

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