Lycos patents spider technology

Lycos Inc. says it will own key rights to one of the most important pieces of technology on the Internet—spiders.

Lycos will receive an exclusive patent on widely used spidering technology, which allows search engines to automatically find and categorize information on the Internet, the company stated.

Spiders are automated search robots that scour the Internet, feeding information to the databases of search engines such as Yahoo, Excite and Alta Vista.

Spidering technology lies at the heart of all major search engines, enabling them to compile the information that appears in their services, which in turn guides Internet users to the information they are looking for.

It not yet clear how broad the patent is, but it is possible that other search engines might now have to license some technology from Lycos. The patent application was filed by Carnegie Mellon University.

"I'm very pleased to have watched what began as a research project become a global information network," said Lycos Chief Scientist Michael Mauldin, Ph.D. in the statement. "The award of this patent on the spidering technology at the heart of the Lycos service really reinforces the Lycos vision of delivering the Internet's true promise directly to users."