Singapore Firm Claims Patent On Hyperlinked Images

from the oh-please dept

Ah silly patents. Remember back when British Telecom thought that it held a patent on hyperlinks? And then there've been multiple different patents claiming ownership of the idea of putting an image on a website. Well, it appears that a company in Singapore has recently merged the two ideas into its own patent, and boy, is it ever ready to sue just about everyone. Slashdot points us to the news that Singaporean image search firm Vuestar Technologies claims to hold a patent on linking images from a website to another site and is sending out threatening letters to a bunch of websites. No one has linked to the actual patent so it's difficult to see what it really covers -- but the idea that a recent patent would cover the concept of linking images seems preposterous.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, May 28th, 2008 @ 9:30am

    I read about this yesterday

    on SlashDot.com

    There was some confusion as to whether the patent is simply embedding a hyperlink to an image

    or the more advanced topic of scanning images for content and linking to that content. Picture of McD arches links to McD site.

    Prior art covers the 1st.
    I have been linking images to sites for 13 years.
    Definitely covers the patent filing date.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:06am

    so someone claims to have expanded upon the idea of an ICON and now they want to sue everyone? Anyone for a game of Minesweeper? (1989)

     

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  3.  
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    some old guy, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    didn't you know? appending "over the internet" to any idea is grounds (apparently...sigh) for a patent.

     

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  4.  
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    dolf, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:17am

    It's okay. I hold the patents to not only breathe, but to breathe "over the internet." If someone breathes into a microphone they're clearly infringing on my patent. I think it's high time to start taking some of these companies to court to make them stop breathing. That should get them out of everyone's hair.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:19am

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:20am

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    HA HA HA!

    (img src="http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i83/quasarradio204/retard.jpg") Sorry for my empty post above, in my excitement to show advanced patented technology involved, I forgot that img html tags would get filtered (Perhaps in TechDirt's attempt to protect its ass from any upcoming lawsuits? ;))

     

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  8.  
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    Gracey, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:52am

    There's a link in this forum to the patent.

    http://cboard.cprogramming.com/showthread.php?p=757252

     

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  9.  
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    Gracey, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:54am

    ...though after looking at the patent, I don't see vuestar's name, so perhaps it not their patent at all.

     

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  10.  
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    angry dude, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:58am

    RETARDS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The usual crowd of techdirt lemmings listening to the anti-patent sermons of Mikey

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    CJ, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:59am

    Is this that thing where people were planning to dumb down society even further but creating some kind of filter over content that replaced words with logo-graphics. So if you were reading an article say about outsourcing jobs because you hate that your employees expect tolerable working conditions and fair pay, you'd just see the Bank of America logo instead of having to read Bank of America, and then you could just click on the logo and you could go to the website and send them a nasty letter they won't read.

     

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  12.  
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    Ima Fish, May 28th, 2008 @ 10:59am

    Re: RETARDS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    "The usual crowd of techdirt lemmings listening to the anti-patent sermons of Mikey."

    You say that as if it's a bad thing. I don't get it.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 11:24am

    I wonder if I could get a patent on wrapping a div around a paragraph.

     

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  14.  
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    wasnt me, May 28th, 2008 @ 11:42am

    ouch!! might have to sell my house

    wow if i had to pay royalties....

     

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  15.  
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    ehrichweiss, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:15pm

    Re:

    Thanks for that link.

    They, VueStar, is gonna lose. They didn't even file the damned patent until 2001. By that time it was granted(2003) I'd been hyperlinking images to websites for close to 10 years so they fail when it comes to researching prior art.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:47pm

    this page alone has 5 violations (quickly counted, feel free to point out that there are 6 or 7 or 4 or whatever and belittle me. I know you need to feel better about yourself, so have at it)

     

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  17.  
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    Overcast, May 28th, 2008 @ 12:50pm

    The patent office has those - does that mean they are in violation too?

     

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  18.  
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    www.custompcmax.com, May 28th, 2008 @ 1:04pm

    So, I am thinking of putting a patent on the idea of putting text on a webpage. I will be a millionare when I bring you all to court. LOL

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 1:35pm

    yeah... well, i'm patenting all uses of carbon

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, May 28th, 2008 @ 1:58pm

    From the looks of it

    From reading the abstract of the patent, It looks like it's not using a image to link to another site but use an image from another site during a search. Like Google image search.

    I think the first time I heard of the idea was in, I believe, 2000 on TechTV. It was a modified version of FireFox, but they didn't use an image they used a screen cap of the page itself.

     

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  21.  
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    dorpass, May 28th, 2008 @ 2:49pm

    Re: RETARDS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As usual, angry durak is a lemming himself.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    John, May 28th, 2008 @ 2:55pm

    Sad

    The saddest part is that this company will take other companies to court over this issue, spending untold amounts on legal fees and court costs. Eventually, a judge somewhere will throw this out, but will some companies simply give because they can't (or won't) pay the legal fees to defend themselves in court?

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    DanC, May 28th, 2008 @ 4:07pm

    Re:

    No, you are correct - Patent 7,065,520 Vuestar is attempting to enforce. According to their website:

    The Patent “A method of locating web – sites using visual images ” is granted to the Inventor Ronald Neville Langford who has assigned its use for licensing and other commercial exploitation to VUESTAR Technologies Pte Ltd of Singapore is valid

    The problem is, using an image for a hyperlink, regardless of where the image is stored, was well in use before 2001. This is another example of where the USPTO has granted a patent to a pre-existing "invention".

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    DanC, May 28th, 2008 @ 4:16pm

    Re: RETARDS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And the usual tired insults from the resident troll who apparently couldn't be bothered to read the patent in question and realize that it was granted years after the practice it describes was already in use.

    Why should angry dude trouble himself with actually trying to make intelligent statements when ignorant rants are so much easier?

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Little Punk, May 28th, 2008 @ 5:55pm

    AD never met a patent he didn't like.

    And AD probably thinks that this guy got ripped off:
    http://edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/auspac/07/02/australia.wheel/

     

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  26.  
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    A chicken passeth by, May 29th, 2008 @ 6:17pm

    On behalf of my countrymen, I would like to apologize for this patent troll's antisocial behavior. Our local companies are taking the brunt of his misguided demands anyway.

    Can you believe the man even had the cheek to say that he was "disappointed at the outrage", that he was "well within the laws", and even asked why "we're chasing him out" in a newspaper interview. >_>

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Dr Chong Yee Khoo, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 5:56am

    Look to the Back

    "In sum, the company implied that any Web site that uses pictures and graphics to link to another site or Web page will need a license from Vuestar."

    If that's what they are saying in their letter, then this does not seem to be borne out by the patent. The patent is directed to web searching, not pure hypertext linking. The claims of the Singapore patent appear to cover web searches whose results display a visual image in addition to a hyperlink to the target.

    Most of the independent claims also require the entries of the search results list to display "contact information for an organisation" as a component. This is defined in the specification as the "organisation's telephone, e-mail or facsimile contact information".

    So the patent, as far as these claims are concerned, would appear to cover web searches which display visual content and contact information.

    Does your website do this?

    [Note that Claim 34 does not appear to have this limitation]

    This is just a quick analysis of the patent done in 10 minutes. It is not to be construed as legal advice. You should neither act or refrain from acting on the basis of this posting.

    Contact your patent attorney for more information, preferably a technically qualified patent attorney.

    Disclosure: I am a Singapore patent attorney. I have no connection with any of the parties mentioned in the article. I am acting as an interested member of the public.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    SG Travel, Jul 21st, 2009 @ 1:31am

    Hmmm...

    So, should I get worried or what? Anyone received legal letter from them already?

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Schoo Holidays Guide, Oct 25th, 2012 @ 1:30am

    I wonder how other country has patented this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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