SBC Claims They Own The Patent On Consistent Navigation

from the lovely dept

It’s been some time since we’ve had one of these absolutely ridiculous patent claims, but there are crazy lawyers everywhere looking for ways to ge a little bit more money. The latest appears to be SBC Communications which is claiming to own the patent on consistent navigation throughout a website, and are asking some small sites to pay up their license fees. The exact patent is viewable here. I’m a bit confused as to how the navigational setup of a website can be patentable. I’m also a bit confused as to what lawyer would think they could get away with trying to get websites to license such an idea. The whole thing is so ridiculous that it makes me wonder if it’s a hoax of some sort, though, it’s not the most ridiculous internet patent lawsuit we’ve seen.

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Comments on “SBC Claims They Own The Patent On Consistent Navigation”

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Steve says:

As aways, sue the little guy

Aside from the absolute laughability of the claim, this lawsuit it is nothing short of viscious, nasty and plain mean. Sue the little guys who can’t aford a cadre of lawyers and are more willing to just pay the fee to make the lawsuit go away. And of course, once they do, there’s some precedent and (a little) validity to the claim. Why don’t they sue Amazon? After taking a few minutes to look at the site in question, and reading the letter, it seems to me that Amazon (and about a thousand other commercial sites) uses the exact navigation struture that they’re suing Museum Tour for. But of course Amazon has plenty of equally nasty lawyers so SBC won’t touch them.

SBC’s biggest claim should be against the W3C. Since the way SBC describes it, they have a patent on pretty much anything that uses frames, so the entire set of frame tags & attributes is patent infringment. Or maybe they should invoke the DCMA since the frame tags are a tool whose sole purpose is to violate their patent.

In addition to the drastic patent reform needed, there really should be means for the defendants to have all their legal fees paid by the plaintiff if they win. That way, when you know there’s no way in hell a claim has any validity, you can get the lawyers necessary to win and have the plaintiffs pay them.

LittleW0lf says:

From what it looks like...

From what it looks like in the patent description, Microsoft and other Windows developers may also fall under this too…as .NET and other software, delivered over the web, provides the use of “widgets” or movable menu bars with site specific info.

Then again, so does just about every government website, including the ones I am particularly responsible for managing….

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