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BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
6/11/2003
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British Telecommunications plc (BT) (NYSE: BTY; London: BTA) isn't too happy about the way some of its U.S. competitors have been passing gas.

Well, sort of. Specifically, BT is picking a legal fight with several U.S. phone companies over a patent that describes a method of installing fiber optic lines in telecom networks. Earlier this month, the carrier filed suits in a Delaware court against SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Broadwing Inc. (NYSE: BRW), Touch America Holdings Inc. (NYSE: TAA), and Level 3 Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT).

"BT takes the protection of its extensive and valuable intellectual property assets very seriously," writes a BT spokeswoman, via email. "We have approached the companies concerned over their use of BT's blown cable patents but, in the absence of satisfactory responses, have litigated to enforce our rights."

The patents in question -- 4691896 and 4948097 -- describe a way of sending glass fibers through conduit by, quite literally, passing gas through the conduit or pathway that the fiber needs to follow. The gas needed, according to the patent, is typically nitrogen or air.

The patents, in typical pointy-headed terms, describe how a carrier can move the optical fibers along a path by "fluid drag of a gaseous medium passed through the pathway in the desired direction of advance." [Ed. note: Thanks, Sherman! You're welcome, Mr. Peabody!]

This fiber installation method is said to be easier and put less strain on the optical cables and fibers than conventional methods, which include pulling cable with a rope through a cable duct, the patents claim. In addition, blowing cable makes it easier to add fibers and wires to routes where more capacity is needed.

The lawsuits' defendants couldn't be reached immediately for comment.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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deweyduck
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deweyduck,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 1:48:45 AM
re: BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air
I thought blowing network fiber down a gas pipeline a Williams technique.

cyber_techy
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cyber_techy,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:56:03 PM
re: BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air
Assuming that the gas that Qwest, Verizon, etc. passed has long gone, how is BT going to prove it in the court
pavlovsdog
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pavlovsdog,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:56:01 PM
re: BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air
would certainly relieve the fiber glut :-)
optical
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optical,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:56:01 PM
re: BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air
I just passed some gas. I hope BT doesn't sue me !
grunt
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50%
grunt,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:56:00 PM
re: BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air
well - I can think of a few ways.
1. they are quite possibly still doing it.
2. look at records and writen feild proceedures - as big carriers tend to do these things including training.
3. then the standard is people - some people dont lie under oath and under court order - so a few of the techs would answer yes to 'did you use such and such a method to install fiber.. etc.."
4. equipment to install it - did they buy it, do they cart it around, etc..

grunt
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50%
grunt,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:56:00 PM
re: BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air
well - I can think of a few ways.
1. they are quite possibly still doing it.
2. look at records and writen feild proceedures - as big carriers tend to do these things including training.
3. then the standard is people - some people dont lie under oath and under court order - so a few of the techs would answer yes to 'did you use such and such a method to install fiber.. etc.."
4. equipment to install it - did they buy it, do they cart it around, etc..

farfields
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50%
farfields,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:55:45 PM
re: BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air
...but not many others are. Who remembers last years litigation over BT 'inventing' hyperlinks? We can expect more of this from BT, as their patent dept. is run as a profit center. And I'll bet that all the readers of lightreading have a similar view of lawyers being able to understand technology, or make money from it.

This reminds me of a story a few years back that uncovered a British Rail patent for a 'nuclear powered flying saucer' that was granted during the 60s.

cheers
opticalweenie
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opticalweenie,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:55:41 PM
re: BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air
What, someone has a patent out on nuclear
powered flying saucers! Damn, I was almost
finished testing my prototype.

Weenie
farfields
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50%
farfields,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:55:12 PM
re: BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air
and if you don't believe me, here's an extract.. (weblink is below). I know this is completely off-topic, but it is such fun.

According to the present invention there is provided a space vehicle including a platform, a thermonuclear fusion zone provided at the underside of said platform, means for supplying fusion material to said zone, one or more lasers to provide for ignition of said fusion material at said fusion zone, magnetic means on said platform adapted to deflect charged particles emitted from said fusion zone and a plurality of electrodes on said platform adapted to receive charged particles emitted from said fusion zone to thereby provide a source of electrical power.

http://www.quern.demon.co.uk/j...
Dr.Q
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Dr.Q,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:55:09 PM
re: BT Says US Carriers Full of Hot Air
Since we've diverged into weird patents, here's another one. Michael Jackson (the entertainer) holds a patent on an anti-gravity device. More specifically, the patent is titled "Method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion", and is US Patent 5,255,452, granted October 26, 1993.

[You can read more about this and other cutting edge inventions, at the US Patent and Trademark website, http://patft.uspto.gov.]

- Dr.Q


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