Financial Times report on the BT ‘hyperlink patent’ case.
‘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.
BT admits this apparent goldmine lay unnoticed for decades before being unearthed in a routine trawl of its intellectual property portfolio.
Any chance to exploit the patent in Europe had gone by the time BT woke up to its significance. But a delay in issuing the patent in the US means it does not expire there until 2006.
If BT wins its case, its delay in latching on to the potential of the patent may anger shareholders. ‘