Agency reexamines multimedia patent

The Patent & Trademark Office took the rare step of reexamining a patent given to a software company for multimedia technology that threatened to put up a roadblock on the information highway, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Compton’s New Media won a patent in August that covers computer-based search and retrieval of text, graphics and video. The company stirred controversy in the emerging multimedia field by claiming that its patent covered basic technologies that could force competitors to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.

The patent office said the reevaluation was based on new information challenging the propriety of the patent.

The Tribune Co. said it was looking forward to working with the patent office on the review.

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