SBC shaking down small businesses with patent for icon-based navigation

SBC Communications was wrongfully granted a patent on icon-based navigation (based on an application made in 1996, no less). But now so desperate for any income whatsoever, they’re becoming as dangerous as a wild animal backed into a corner — now they’re shaking down small businesses, which generally can’t afford to fight a bloated telecommunications company.

We recently observed several useful navigation features within the user interface or your site For example your site includes several selectors or tabs that correspond to specific locations within your site documents. These selectors seem to reside in their own frame or part of the user interface. And, as such, the selectors are not lost when a different part of the document is displayed to the user — see screen shots from enclosed. By sperating the selectors from the content, Museumetour has truly simplified site navigation and improved the shopping experience for its users.

As you review the Structured Document Patent you will notice that the above-discussed features appear to infringe several issued claims in our patent. In light of Museum Tours presumed respect for the intellectual property rights of others, we are pleased to offer you a Preferred Rate license under the structured Document Patent — see enclosed rate schedule.

If you’re a small business owner that’s an SBC customer, note that you don’t have to use them for local telephone services anymore — you owe it to yourself to check out alternatives. [via the Interesting People list] | Letter from SBC to | SBC patent #5,933,841