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[FYI] Lumbering BT mishits on links


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Lumbering BT mishits on links  

Online editor Victor Keegan says the British telecommunications giant 
is doing itself no favours by belatedly pursuing a hyperlinks patent 

Tuesday June 20, 2000  

It is difficult to see how British Telecommunications will gain from 
the claim that it has been sitting on key US patents for hyperlinks, 
one of the key ingredients of the world wide web which allow users to 
browse from page to page all over the world. If it wins its case in 
the US then it will invite an avalanche of protest from net users 
everywhere who have long regarded the web as being a free public 
good. This is the view strongly endorsed by Tim Berners-Lee, the 
British computer scientist who up until now has been acclaimed as 
having largely invented the world wide web when he worked at the 
nuclear physics laboratory in Switzerland.  

If BT wins then it may get extra income but at the cost of a huge 
public relations backlash which it could do without. It doesn't win 
either way, because not to have realised until quite recently that it 
had been sitting on the patents of the central nervous system of the 
web will only reinforce its image of being a giant monopoly too 
unwieldy to exploit its underlying potential. It has been criticised 
for years for not using its 90% monopoly of domestic internet access 
to launch cheap broadband internet access for all.  


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