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.
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Filed Under: hyperlinks, image search, images, patents, singapore
Companies: vuestar technologies

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  1. identicon
    Dr Chong Yee Khoo, 22 Jan 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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