Google Sued for Hyperlink Patent Infringement

Google is being sued by a software company for allegedly infringing on a patent for enhanced hyperlinks, Google Watch has learned.

iLor, LLC, a Kentucky-based software company, filed suit against Google on Tuesday, arguing the search company was infringing on a patent titled, "method for adding a user selectable function to a hyperlink."

iLor is seeking unspecified damages. The patent in question, #7,206,839, was issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 17, the same date the lawsuit was filed.

The patent description reads:

"An enhanced hyperlink and method for providing an enhanced hyperlinked are provided. This invention permits the user to interact with a hyperlink in a variety of ways without necessarily having to open and/or follow the hyperlink. This is accomplished by detecting the presence of a cursor near a hyperlink. When the cursor has remained near the hyperlink for a predetermined time period, a toolbar is displayed containing one or more link enhancements that the user may select. In response to the users' selection of a particular link enhancement, then that link enhancement function would be performed without requiring the [sic] any further action. Examples of link enhancement include, but are not limited to, opening the selected link in a new window; opening the selected link in a new window with that window minimized; creating a clickable graphic/text string, and/or icon that would enable the user to return to the selected link at a later time; or anchor the current page by creating an icon or other clickable item that would return the user to the current page; or view off-line which would, in the background download the files associated with the selected link to a memory device for viewing later off-line."

Representatives for Google were not immediately available for comment. iLor has no prior history of federal litigation in Kentucky.

If you ask Google Watch, this patent looks like it's describing relatively simple code that's easily mimicked with DHTML and/or CSS.