Prodigy Wins Motion for Summary Judgment to Dismiss Patent Infringement Case

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Prodigy Wins Motion for Summary Judgment to Dismiss Patent Infringement Case

British Telecom (BT) lost its case against Prodigy Communications that was filed in U.S. District Court for claimed patent infringement of Web hosting pages that use hyperlinks. BT had attempted to collect hyperlink license fees from Prodigy, America Online, and at least a dozen other Internet Service Providers. When the ISPs refused to pay BT, BT proceeded against Prodigy as a test case to see whether BT would prevail against the ISPs. BT claimed infringement under the hyperlink patent, known as the Sargent Patent, a patent granted to BT in 1976 that covers a system for multiple users at remote terminals that access data stored on a central computer. BT asked the judge to rule that the Sargent Patent was infringed when Internet Service Providers, in particular, Prodigy, allowed their users to access the information on the Internet. The judge ruled, however, that the Internet does not constitute a central computer storage site, and thus, Prodigy and the other ISPs did not infringe the Sargent Patent. Prodigy then moved for summary judgment to dismiss the case brought by BT and the judge granted Prodigy’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

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