Wild and crazy patents

Patent protection has been granted over the years to some truly off-the-wall ideas, including a hair comb-over and basmati rice. Some that seemed like shoo-ins at the time were later overturned, including the famed ENIAC computer.

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Hyperlinks (1989)


U.S. patent number 4,873,662 was granted to an inventor who holds claim to the hyperlink, one of the dozen or so that the Electronic Frontier Foundation says should be voided.

Some of the patent's claim reads that it covers "a digital information storage, retrieval and display system comprising: a central computer means in which plural blocks of information are stored at respectively corresponding locations, each of which locations is designated by a predetermined address therein by means of which a block can be selected... and a second portion containing information not for display but including the complete address for each of plural other blocks of information..."

Of course, to infringe on the claim, you’d have to do everything it says.

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