A US federal judge has thrown out the claim by BT that Prodigy – the first commercial ISP in the US - violated a patent on hyperlinking, the technology that connects data on the web via highlighted object links.

A summary judgement was issued in Prodigy's favour saying the company did not violate a patent that BT claims for hyperlink technology.

The decision came on the heels of a previous order that limited how BT could present and defend its claims on the patent.

A summary judgement is a ruling in which the judge decides there are no factual issues that remain to be tried in a case and so parts of the case, or the entire complaint, can be decided without a trial. It can be appealed.

BT had claimed that its so-called Sargent patent, filed in the US in 1976 and granted in 1989, provided the company with the rights to hyperlinking.