It seems absurd that someone

It seems absurd that someone would claim to have a patent that covers the kind hyperlinking which forms the core of the World Wide Web. Nevertheless the is exactly what British Telecommunication (BT) is claiming and use as the basis for a law suit against Prodigy, the internet service provider owned by SBC Communications (SBC is a majority shareholder of TDC – the largest Danish telco). The legal action springs from BT’s claim a few years ago to have unearthed a 1976 patent giving it rights to hyperlinks – the ubiquitous tools for moving between online pages and pictures. If the court finds that patent number 4,873,662 on “Information handling system and terminal apparatus” does give BT rights over hyperlinks, its victory would be embarrassing, albeit lucrative. How are we as a society to react against such grotesque attempts to monopolize ideas that should be free for all to implement? Surely not an easy question to answer. The answer is not to ban patenting altogether. Good patents are important for innovation. Bad patents hinders the creativity of others. Let us concentrate on overhauling the patentsystem so that only the good patents are allowed. How this is actually achieved is another story…

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