Vuestar: Imaging linking on the Internet is PATENTED - Alvinology

Vuestar: Imaging linking on the Internet is PATENTED

Vuestar

(I can’t hyperlink the image above to their website as it will infringe their patent)

Zhun bo?????? Can patent this kind of thing one meh???

If Vuestar Technologies Pte Ltd, a Singapore-incorporated company, has its way, a crisis is brewing ahead for the World Wide Web which will affect practically every single websites on the Internet.

You can read this news article lifted from Straits Times to better understand the scenerio:

Patent breach by ‘virtually all websites’? Pay up, firm demands
526 words
27 May 2008
Straits Times
English
(c) 2008 Singapore Press Holdings Limited

A SINGAPORE firm has threatened to sue websites that use pictures or graphics to link to another page, claiming it owns the patent for a technology used by millions around the world.

In a move that has come under fire from the online community, VueStar Technologies has sent ‘invoices’ to local website operators asking for thousands of dollars in licensing fees.


The company, which said ‘virtually all websites’ are infringing on its patent, is also planning to take on giants like Mircosoft and Google.

It is a battle that could, at least in theory, upend the Internet, though intellectual property experts have some doubts that VueStar can actually enforce its claims.

The company said it has been awarded a patent here and in several other countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the United States, for the method of ‘locating Web pages by utilising visual images’.

In other words, clicking, scrolling or streaming over a visual image to connect with a website or Web page is an infringement, the company claims on its website.

The technique is the de facto method used to connect websites across the globe, from personal blogs to the biggest search engines.

VueStar managing director Paul Smith said if sites want to keep using images as links, they will have to pay his company – located in a single-unit office at The Adelphi off Coleman Street – between ‘$200’ and ‘millions’ annually.

It is a claim, however, that has its doubters.

Technology and intellectual property lawyer Bryan Tan of Keystone Law Corporation said that while VueStar has been granted a patent, it is an extremely wide one.

In fact, ‘if the patent is allowed to stand, it will probably bring the (Internet) industry to its knees’. And VueStar’s patent may be contested and overturned in court, he said.

The firm has been sending out invoices to Singapore companies since last week asking them to pay up, said Mr Smith. He declined to say how many have gone out, but there have been ‘enough to keep my phone busy’.

Those who do not pay up, warned Mr Smith, face legal action, and his company is ‘highly confident that (a court decision) will be in our favour’.

Mr Alvin Koh, who runs the non-profit Arrowana fish website arofanatics.com, received one of VueStar’s invoices last week for $5,350. He does not intend to pay up and said: ‘I would rather close down the site’.

Mr Smith recognises that Mr Koh’s stand will likely be a popular one, and his firm is already girding up for a public backlash.

‘Website owners are just upset because they never had to pay for it before,’ said Mr Smith.

VueStar will begin enforcing its patent claims in Australia and the US ‘soon’, he said, and the firm is also working on invoices for Internet heavyweights like Google and Microsoft.

While governments and charities will need a licence, VueStar will not be asking for payment from these parties, he said.

Mr Tan urged companies to contact their lawyers before ‘paying VueStar anything’.

So how? I am very sure 99% of web publishers (bloggers included) must have done image linking at one point or another. For those bloggers who serve ads from blogs ads networks like Nuffnang and Advertlets, it can’t be more obvious. Jialat liow… now Vuestar will be coming after everyone.

In case you are curious, here are some profile information about Vuestar Technologies Pte Ltd (via EDMW):

Domain: www.vuestar.biz

Registrant:
Goldspirit Investments Pty Ltd

8/25
Edmonstone Street
South Brisbane, Queensland 4101
Australia

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: VUESTAR.BIZ
Created on: 16-Dec-07
Expires on: 16-Dec-09
Last Updated on: 21-Feb-08

Administrative Contact:
Langford, Ron [email protected]
Goldspirit Investments Pty Ltd
8/25
Edmonstone Street
South Brisbane, Queensland 4101
Australia
738466996 Fax — 738466996

Technical Contact:
Langford, Ron [email protected]
Goldspirit Investments Pty Ltd
8/25
Edmonstone Street
South Brisbane, Queensland 4101
Australia
738466996 Fax — 738466996

Domain servers in listed order:
NS3.EGNAROSOFT.COM
NS4.EGNAROSOFT.COM

To read more about this strange case which somehow reminds me of the Odex Saga, you can also visit the following URLs:

Hardwarezone’s EDMW forum (heated discussion going on)

Simply Jean – Imaging linking is patented, websites and blogs affected, Advertlets, Nuffnang and Blog2U may have to call it a day

HongKiat – You breached our patent by using images as links – says Vuestar

CNET Asia – New image hyperlinking patent comes under fire in online forums

Slashdot – Singapore Firm Claims Patent Breach By Virtually All Websites

The Electric New Paper – Local company tells websites to PAY UP

Chris Linfoot – Only in Singapore

Internet Marketing Singapore – Vuestar Technologies Are Patent Trolls? You may get sued for using ANY image on your site…

Technorati Tags: vuestar, singapore, image linking patent, vuestar technologies pte ltd, straits times, locating web pages by utilising visual images, paul smith, the adelphi, bryan tan, keystone law corporation, alvin koh, arrowana fish website, arofanatics.com, nuffnang, advertlets, goldsprit investment, edmonstone street, godaddy.com, vuestar.biz, Ron Langford, Ronald Langford, Internet Marketing Singapore, CNET asia, hongkiat, simply jean, hardwarezone, edmw

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