back to article NYT fights back against links-in-texts patent

A patent covering sending HTML links in text messages is to get a legal workout, with the New York Times telling the patent holder “see you in court”. According to the Associated Press, a company called Helferich Patent Licensing, vehicle for inventor Richard J Helferich, has followed a successful strategy of filing against …


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  1. Christoph

    I wish to patent the idea of sending lawsuits in letters.

    1. Franklin

      While that's a lovely idea, I fear there might be a substantial amount of prior art...

      1. Thorne

        "While that's a lovely idea, I fear there might be a substantial amount of prior art..."

        Prior art never stopped Apple

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Delivering services over the Internet patented

      "Stamford-based WhitServe LLC has won a lawsuit for $8.4 million in U.S. District Court of Connecticut against Computer Packages Inc. for infringement of patents it holds for delivering professional services over the Internet, including methods for online patent and trademark renewals. WhitServe owns and invents intellectual property applications".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    patent idiocy

    Can we all jointly patent the idea of suing the idiot that granted the patent? Not just the patent office, but the individual officer?

  3. Gary F
    Thumb Down

    If someone owned a patent for the paper bag...

    ...could he sue cafes for putting sandwiches inside paper bags and grocers for putting shopping inside paper bags? There is absolutely no additional technology or thought involved with putting a URL in a SMS, so it's not something that should be patentable. Saying that, a US court says a rectangle with rounded corners is the upheld patented design of Apple. How can something without sharp corners be patented? Only in America. :-(

    1. JetSetJim

      Re: If someone owned a patent for the paper bag...

      Without actually knowing what the patent is, I'd guess it's either a system whereby the user can push an SMS containing the URL from mobile browser, or the method of recognising that there's a URL in the SMS and making it "clickable" in the SMS application (which is kinda rendered obvious by the "cross-application" click-on-a-phone-number-in-a-web-page-to-dial, which I think also works in SMS nowadays.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: If someone owned a patent for the paper bag...

        I'm guessing that it's one of the claims in US8134450 .

        "Content provision to subscribers via wireless transmission

        Methods and systems that provide content to subscribers via wireless transmission by initiating a page that does not automatically provide associated content. The content provider conserves air time by not automatically transmitting the content. The information content may be of different types, such as voice, text, audio, or even video, and may be dynamic. In addition to the aforementioned, the content provider may provide to subscribers via wireless transmission songs or video clips or updates on weather or stock rates. "

        No direct reference to URLs needed - the patent is ludicrously generic and incredibly was filed as recently as 2009 and published this year. Madness

        1. Shaft

          Re: If someone owned a patent for the paper bag...

          Sorry chap he filed in 1997. Do your homework before shooting off your mouth.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    IIRC there is even an ETSI specification about how to integrate URLs in the Information Element (binary payload which may use some or all of the 140 text byte) of an SMS.

    (Posting before the "This innvoation has to be protected against theft!!11" ovine spongiform encephalopathy hits)

    1. VinceH

      Re: Seriously?

      " (Posting before the "This innvoation has to be protected against theft!!11" ovine spongiform encephalopathy hits)"

      Don't worry, that only happens when the ludicrous patent in question is one held by Apple.

  5. Oengus

    For a "company" (troll) that supposedly licensed the technology for $750,000 they could use some of that to invest in their website. I have seen better sites designed by 6 year olds. Their "portfolio" page says "Click below to view" but when you look at the souce for the page there are no links to the US Patent Ofice. Their "Licensing" page has a number of "defaults" where contact information would normally be (Phone and Fax No for example).

    If this is the best they can afford I wonder how they can afford lawyers to enforce their patents (or do the lawyers take all of the income and leave nothing for the company to improve their image/reputation).

    1. Oliver Mayes

      It's worse than you think

      All of the images and page elements are held in a web accessible directory

      Judging by the amount of useless markup someone with no web knowledge made this in something like Frontpage.

    2. Juan Inamillion

      Bloody hell... That really is one of the worst sites I've seen in a LONG time... The ©2008 at the foot of the home page suggests that that was when it was generated....

      Ah well, when you're only interested in money....

  6. vic 4


    Honestly, this is getting ridiculous. thank some deity I don't live in the US, otherwise I'd just be embarrassed., how is this different to Patent US7966578 that apple filed and should never have been granted. the idea of something having a meaning in a context is so f****ng obvious I'd be likely to try and award charges against the plaintive if I was on the jury, regardless of instructions.

    How on earth is it possible to patent an html link, linking to a document just because the link is not presented in a web browser, that is the definition of a hyperlink in a hypertext document. Can you imagine how TBL must feel, actually I know exactly how he feels along with the majority on here. What next, patenting round corners? what that failed? Maybe bevels should be patented? Hm, are bevels not just rounded, but chambered corners, i.e. a discontinuous form of a corner tending towards a rounded shape if you were to smooth it out? Glad I never thought of the idea of smoothing something out to save discomfort. Oops sorry, my other business has been doing this on wood furniture for a while, must grab things like a dovetail connector shape for devices in case NFC doesn't take off.

    1. Ru

      Re: "thank some deity I don't live in the US"

      Not living under US jurisdiction will not protect you from the idiocy of its patenting regime. Selling consumer products is an international business these days, and if you want to ship your product around the world you must comply with the set union of all IP laws around the world.

      This means that not only do you get to buy stuff that's been crippledto comply with US patent law, and not only will some of the money you pay for stuff go to US patent licensing fees, but it also means that you have to rely on the US electorate and the legislature they vote in to ultimately deal with the issue because you have no right to do so. Yay!

    2. GBE

      Re: FFS -- embarassed?

      > Honestly, this is getting ridiculous. thank some deity I don't live in the US,

      > otherwise I'd just be embarrassed.

      Really? _That's_ why you'd be embarassed? I live in the US, and am embarassed by many things "American", but the patent system (screwed up as it is) isn't that close to the top of the list.

  7. Mystic Megabyte

    It's all in the eyes

    I once went to the London Patent Office to research an idea that I'd had. Everyone was scurrying around with £ signs in their eyes. Almost as if they all wanted to patent the wheelbarrow and become millionaires. It's really worth a visit.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. mhenriday
    Big Brother

    Stop whinging about absurd patents and, in particular, Apple's many examples !

    Hasn't our beloved «executive editor» informed us in this very number of the Reg that «the Apple-Samsung verdict is GOOD for YOU, your KIDS and TECH» ? How dare anyon question this divine wisdom ? Patents - the more absurd the better - are going to save us all (with the exception of those dastardly «freetards» - our executive editor's contribution to the vocabulary of the English language - who no doubt deserve their miserable fates). It is, of course, entirely consistent with our executive editor's exalted character that certain unfortunate Reg readers who haven't fully grasped the sacrosanct nature of his pronunciamentos are blocked from commenting on his postings....


    1. PT

      Re: Stop whinging about absurd patents and, in particular, Apple's many examples !

      Does he still block them? He's so predictable, I don't even bother to read him any more, let alone try to comment.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds rather like Hypertext, basic HMTL linking, serious prior art; WTF!

    This is absurd and shameless make work for lawyers, with negative productive result; this is the last thing they should be doing in this Great Recession, probably later to be a Greater Depression.

    The US patent system is a fracking joke, just burn the offices of the patent offices, patent lawyers and the so called IP 'rights' organisations to the ground, to get rid of this explosion of ill reviewed, anti-capitalist, protectionist, idea baggage/garbage.

  11. Shaft

    MMS Patent

    It looks to me like this guy holds the patent to MMS. He filed the patent in 1997. MMS never happened until 2002. Where can I buy Stock?!!!

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