BTG sells its 'Internet-tracking' patents

Company wants to move away from IT patents and focus on life sciences instead

BTG, a UK patent-holding company, announced on Wednesday that it has sold its WebNav online navigation system to TwinTech EU, another firm that profits from the commercialisation of patents.

BTG is chiefly known in IT circles as the company that started legal actions against a number of companies in June 2004, claiming that they had infringed its WebNav patents relating to the process of downloading software and virus-protection updates over the Internet.

Four companies were involved, including BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com, which BTG accused of "infringement of a patented technology that enables efficient tracking of Internet users between Web sites".

In a statement, BTG's chief executive, Louise Makin, said that BTG had "settled the existing WebNav litigations" without revealing any details. All she would say was that the company was "pleased to sell the patents in return for an immediate gain".

"TwinTech EU has the skills and resources to create additional value from these important patents," she said.

BTG will get $5m as a gross payment from the deal before revenue sharing and costs, plus a share of future profits earned by TwinTech EU from commercialisation of these patents, the company said. It now plans to focus on the life sciences business.

BTG would not comment on the details of the deal.

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