You've Got.... to be joking.

America Online has quietly secured a patent that could shake up the competitive landscape for instant messaging software.

The patent (6449344), originally filed in 1997, and granted in September this year, gives AOL instant messaging subsidiary ICQ rights as the inventor of the popular IM Internet application. The patent covers anything resembling a network that lets multiple IM users see when other people are present and then communicate with them.

"The claim is it's a system where you have a network; you have a way to monitor who's on the network; and if you want to talk to them you hook them up," said Gregory Aharonian, publisher of Internet Patent News Service, a newsletter that's critical of technology patents. "If you're doing something like that, you're potentially infringing."

This newsposter will refrain from making snide comments: I'll leave that to you guys...

View: Patent creates IM wrinkle

News source: c|net

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