According to eWeek, iLOR, LLC – the parent company of social search company PreFound – is suing Google for infringement of a newly granted patent.
The patent describes a method for adding user selectable functions to a hyperlink, and was only issued on April 17th.
Here’s a description of the patent…
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.
It certainly seems opportunistic and it’s hard to say whether the case against Google has any merit. However, if successful, I’m sure there are lots of companies that use similar mouseover technology for hyperlinks.
It’s certainly a brazen move by iLOR, as a Techdirt reader points out, the company owns PreFound, which relies heavily on Google to power its index.
You would think it wise to not bite the hand that feeds. Unless you are sure you can get a large enough bite to not worry about the chef cooking for you anymore.