Messages with web-links to mobile phones - it's patented

Messages with web-links to mobile phones - it's patented
Patent fatigue aside, a feature that many users have used to one degree or another for years is patented and many businesses have been snared by the patent holder. The New York Times is leading the legal defense of a group of companies that use the feature regularly, and have been for years. They thought it was free.

Turns out, it is not. The technology we are all accustomed to, receiving text messages from businesses which contain web-links to news or information has been protected for quite some time. Richard J. Helferich outlined how such a system would work, and filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in 1997. He was granted several patents and as such, he has the right to protect them.

You may be wondering why we have not heard much about any litigation on this technology considering that since 2008, Helferich’s company, Helferich Patent Licensing (HPL), has only filed 23 suits against well known companies, such as Best Buy and the NBA. The other reason we do not hear much about these proceedings is because HPL claims over 100 companies have settled with them. HPL offers companies the opportunity to settle for a one-time fee of $750,000. That’s real money, but still a drop in the bucket compared to what many companies might end up paying in legal and court fees.

HPL counts Apple, Inc., Walt Disney and McDonald’s among the companies that have settled with them.

The New York Times says it is trying to keep these patents from becoming a burden on commonplace activities. They may argue that HPL does not do anything other than acquire patent fees as its way of doing business. Problem is, “patent trolling,” as it is often called, is perfectly legal.

The Times does have a little muscle on its team, CBS, Comcast and J.C. Penny to name a few, so this case’s profile may increase as proceedings continue.

source: The Washington Post



19. ncv144

Posts: 126; Member since: May 04, 2012

Maxwell, just one tip of advice that sniggly forgot to give you, NEVER, EVER seem biased towards one company or the other, it will earn you a bad reputation among fans

15. webOSlove unregistered

So ive been breaking the law since 1997 ?

16. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

No, it only refers to companies using the messages for mass marketing with web links.

14. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

$750,000 a pop isn't too bad.

13. chebner

Posts: 251; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

How was this determined to be non-obvious, even in 1997?

11. JunkCreek

Posts: 407; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

just copy-paste the link to sms, and then copy-paste again with auto detect link feature like auto detect numbers then copy-paste to browser or have phone automaticaly paste-and-go to default browser or something. that's it. no need to embed link to sms just write it down and give the phone function to auto detect link and use copy-paste process to browser.

10. Aeires unregistered

This just in, Apple purchases Helferich Patent Licensing. Lawyers put on notice. /joke

9. ghostnexus

Posts: 96; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

all of these patents are stupid

5. Savage unregistered

So I am not allowed to share web-page links via SMS now?

8. infernal88

Posts: 113; Member since: Jun 08, 2012

actually u are doing it illegally since 1997 :P

2. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

and another ridiculous patent and another rotten company abusing the patent system like immoral non-innovative Apple.... :(

3. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

They are patent trolls. Quite popular.

4. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

You could have offered your opinion of the company's actions without bringing Apple into it.

7. prophet

Posts: 10; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

It's Apple's fault, really. Thanks to their childish business practices, it's impossible not to think of Apple when talking about abusing the patent system. Even if the article was talking about a patent completely unrelated to smartphones or technology in general, I'd still think of Apple.

1. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Maxwell? That's the first time I've seen your name on here. Welcome to Phonearena! I hope you're properly prepared for the fanboy wars that erupt on any comment page for a news story even REMOTELY related to the smartphone wars. I suggest a couple of bottles of whiskey. Per article.

6. Ray.S

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

Always a good suggestion!

12. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

welcome abraod Max

17. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Sounds like a pretty generic patent that more than likely should fall under fair and reasonable. I think the right thing is to toss this case out.

18. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Why are you replying to me? None of what you said was in any way related to what I said.

20. Mxyzptlk unregistered

What you said wasn't really related to the article.

21. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

No, but that is because there was little that had to be said about the article itself. I just wanted to greet the new author.

22. Mxyzptlk unregistered

You have no argument. My comment at least addresses the article.

23. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Then it should have been in response to the article, not to me.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless