LONDON (Reuters) - Media giant AOL Time Warner has quietly won a U.S. patent for instant messaging, a potential goldmine as the online activity rivals mobile phone text-messaging as the most popular new communication tool.
The patent, issued in September, grants AOL's instant messaging subsidiary ICQ broad ownership rights to the technology, which enables users to chat quickly and cheaply across the Internet.
The broad wording of the patent means AOL could get an important legal leg up on rivals Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo, the other players in the potentially lucrative instant messaging (IM) arena that have their own proprietary technologies.
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News source: ActiveWin