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20+ Companies Sued Over OS Permissions Patent

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the advancing-the-useful-arts-and-sciences dept.

Patents 282

freemywrld writes "According to the article on Ars Technica, Microsoft, Symantec and 20 other companies are being sued over patents covering 'systems for governing application and data permissions, as well as ensuring application integrity.' The patents were granted in the 90's to the Information Protection and Authentication of Texas (IPAT). From the article: 'A response from any of the defendants is still forthcoming, and it is unclear whether the authentication and permissions systems that IPAT's patent describes are precluded by prior art. Even if IPAT has a leg to stand on in court, however, it certainly didn't take the easy route to recovering any damages by suing 22 companies.'"

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What? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26412801)

GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
 
Version 3, 29 June 2007
 
Copyright &#169; 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. <http://fsf.org/>
 
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
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Re:What? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26412915)

GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 3, 29 June 2007 Copyright © 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed. Preamble The GNU General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works. The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away your freedom to share and change the works. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program--to make sure it remains free software for all its users. We, the Free Software Foundation, use the GNU General Public License for most of our software; it applies also to any other work released this way by its authors. You can apply it to your programs, too. When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs, and that you know you can do these things. To protect your rights, we need to prevent others from denying you these rights or asking you to surrender the rights. Therefore, you have certain responsibilities if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it: responsibilities to respect the freedom of others. For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must pass on to the recipients the same freedoms that you received. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights. 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Copyright (C) This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see . Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail. If the program does terminal interaction, make it output a short notice like this when it starts in an interactive mode: Copyright (C) This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `show w'. This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; type `show c' for details. The hypothetical commands `show w' and `show c' should show the appropriate parts of the General Public License. Of course, your program's commands might be different; for a GUI interface, you would use an "about box". You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or school, if any, to sign a "copyright disclaimer" for the program, if necessary. For more information on this, and how to apply and follow the GNU GPL, see . The GNU General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Lesser General Public License instead of this License. But first, please read .

Re:What? (-1, Offtopic)

anothersockpuppet (1445793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412935)

GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 3, 29 June 2007 Copyright © 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed. Preamble The GNU General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works. The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away your freedom to share and change the works. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program--to make sure it remains free software for all its users. We, the Free Software Foundation, use the GNU General Public License for most of our software; it applies also to any other work released this way by its authors. You can apply it to your programs, too. When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. 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The hypothetical commands `show w' and `show c' should show the appropriate parts of the General Public License. Of course, your program's commands might be different; for a GUI interface, you would use an "about box". You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or school, if any, to sign a "copyright disclaimer" for the program, if necessary. For more information on this, and how to apply and follow the GNU GPL, see . The GNU General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Lesser General Public License instead of this License. But first, please read .

Re:What? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413033)

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Re:What? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413077)

Ok I know that there's a GmailFS that uses your Gmail space as a filesystem that you can mount and stuff. Is there an equivalent one for AnonymousPostFS that encrypts and replicates your data out to open comment fields (you'd probably need a few copies incase one died)

Re:What? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413079)

responsibilities if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it: responsibilities to respect the freedom of others. For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must pass on to the recipients the same freedoms that you received. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights. Developers that use the GNU GPL protect your rights with two steps: (1) assert copyright on the software, and (2) offer you this License giving you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify it. For the developers' and authors' protection, the GPL clearly explains that there is no warranty for this free software. For both users' and authors' sake, the GPL requires that modified versions be marked as changed, so that their problems will not be attributed erroneously to authors of previous versions. 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Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413175)

Filter error: Don't use so many GPLs. It's stupid.
Filter error: Don't use so many GPLs. It's stupid.

Re:What? (2, Informative)

Binary Blob (1076603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413121)

Forget to check the little "Post Anonymously" box, did we? Douche.

Re:What? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413187)

Look at his name/UID/comment history, do you think he gives a shit? Dickhead.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413521)

Forgot to read his name, tard?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413711)

You know it's twitter!

Good luck with that (4, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412805)

That's a lot of BIG companies to be suing. I surely hope they have good lawyers or they're going to get a jolly-rodgering!

Re:Good luck with that (1, Offtopic)

Technician (215283) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412923)

That's a lot of BIG companies to be suing.

Regardless, it is expensive to fight. The outcome is not guranteed. This is why America is rapidly becommin a service industry with no manufacturing. Manufacturing is moving elsewhere in a rapid fashion.

Unless the trend can be reversed, then this country will continue to see money drain to elsewhere.

We need reform so America can be a leader in manufacturing again.

Re:Good luck with that (5, Funny)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412941)

What the hell are you babling about?

Re:Good luck with that (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413009)

What the hell are you babling about?

You must be Republican.

Re:Good luck with that (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413113)

You must be a Republican

Re:Good luck with that (4, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413425)

What the hell are you babling about?

without producing real goods, the US economy is not making money. Cory Doctorow [google.com] does a good job in a portion of this video (starting at about the 9:40 mark) of outlining the last of the .com businesses.. the current US economic policy. Just like the majority of .com businesses, it is destined to fail unless it's changed. Politicians don't like admitting they're wrong, though, and thus we are suffering from the job hemorrhage and cash drain that's been going on since the late 90's.

intellectual property is not real, and is flagrantly disregarded by more than half the world's nations. IP is also not going to employ the several hundred million people of this nation.

MOD PARENT UP (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413563)

Yah, wealth is created by making stuff , and not by just pulling ideas out of one's arse. If the ideas can be used to make something, then they might be worth a bit, but an idea alone is worth exactly bupkus.

Cheers,

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1, Offtopic)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413687)

Yah, wealth is created by making stuff , and not by just pulling ideas out of one's arse. If the ideas can be used to make something, then they might be worth a bit, but an idea alone is worth exactly bupkus.

Cheers,

You may agree with the idea i'm expressing, but my comment is off topic and will be treated as such.

I'm willing to accept that. I have karma to burn : )

Re:Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413607)

Software is real. The US exports more software than any other country on the planet. The shitty econemy is completley unrelated. We're in tough economic times because: A- Credit card companies / banks take control of the people's assets by making it very easy for them to spend more money than they have (the rich get richer) B- The stock market is controlled by a collective of (rich) morons who buy and sell at the drop of a hat, based on no evidence. (money gets wasted on bullshit companies who dont use it for anything useful) C- Because we have a wasteful government that will spend billions on wars. (if we spent as much on education as on warfare, we would be number 1 in the world, but we dont, so we're somewhere around number 40 in quality of education) conclusion: We raise a bunch of morons who go out and spend money they dont have on crap that does not make sense, which bankrupts them. Then, we send to to go kill people for no apparent reason.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413701)

no, it's not.

If it were then it would be impossible for windows to be "freer than free".

Nobody on the street buys windows unless they know absolutely nobody who understands what p2p is.

real goods cannot be copied infinitely without a marginal cost of production. As such they have no export value and thus do not provide positive cash flow to our nation.

Re:Good luck with that (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413715)

correction..

real goods cannot be copied infinitely without a marginal cost of production. As such they have no export value and thus do not provide positive cash flow to our nation.

correcting this to read:

real goods cannot be copied infinitely without a marginal cost of reproduction while software can. As such, software has no export value and will not provide positive cash flow for our national economy.

Money is based off real resources, not wishful thinking. the belief in IP is no better than the housing or .com bubble.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413695)

I think he mean we should close the money hole.

Re:Good luck with that (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413167)

There's less profit in manufacturing than there was in generations past because nearly everything's a commodity, with low margins and world-wide competition pushing those margins ever downward. You can't have a first world economy based on manufacturing today any more than you can have a fist class personal income assembling toasters in a factory, or gluing shoes together in a sweatshop. To make real money these days, a nation must invent, create, own and market the ideas that Chinese and Vietnamese then toil to manufacture and export. China's income is massive, but as China grows richer, it will be less able to afford wasting its effort making the world's trinkets, or it will be stuck in relative poverty.

Some manufacturing is profitable of course, but on the whole, it's a good thing for the US that it has moved on. The US's problems today have to do with bad debt management, not the reduction in toastermaking.

Re:Good luck with that (4, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413435)

when we engaged in mild protectionism this wasn't an issue. We used to charge tariffs on imports from nations without proper human and labor rights.

Now we don't.
this video [google.com] tells the story of congressional stupidity starting at around the 9:40 mark.

Re:Good luck with that (4, Informative)

N1ck0 (803359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413185)

Too bad they didn't file this 3+ months ago.

See USPTO: Re Bilski

Determining patent viability under section 101. "Under this test, a patent claim is eligible if: (1) it is tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or (2) it transforms a particular article into a different state or thing."

See USPTO: Ex parte Langemyr and Ex parte Wasynczuk

"A general purpose computer is not a particular machine, and thus innovative software processes are unpatentable if they are tied to a general purpose computer."

Some like to be ripped off (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413277)

Actually, some companies don't mind being ripped off. MS for one. Look at how they were quick to pay unnecessary licensing from SCO. By doing so, MS give SCO some funding for their warchest and gave SCO's case some credibility thereby undermining Linux for a while and doing MS competition more damage than the amount they paid. ie. Net win for MS.

No doubt MS will do the sums here and do the same thing if the spreadsheet tells them to. They'll happily pay up if it puts more hurt on their rivals.

Location, location, location (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412841)

Let me guess -- this was filed in the Eastern Texas District, right?

It's about time some higher authority arrested the patent troll friendly "judges" for contempt of justice. Or Eastern Texas seceding, as is their right according to their terms for joining the union. Either would work fine with me.

Re:Location, location, location (5, Informative)

Rick Zeman (15628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412891)

Let me guess -- this was filed in the Eastern Texas District, right?

"IPAT, which apparently purchased these patents from their listed inventor of Addison M. Fischer, filed its complaint in the Eastern District of Texas on December 30, 2008"

Re:Location, location, location (5, Interesting)

(Score.5, Interestin (865513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413237)

"IPAT, which apparently purchased these patents from their listed inventor of Addison M. Fischer"

Addison Fischer is sort of the man behind the men in a range of security-related make-money-from-IP deals. For example if you'd scratched the surface of RSA Data Security about 10 years ago when they still held a monopoly patent on the algorithm you'd have found him there somewhere, although you'd have to scratch pretty deep since he doesn't seem to like publicity much (he's an ex-spook, which may explain it).

Re:Location, location, location (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413339)

We really _should_ give Texas back to Mexico.

Re:Location, location, location (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413123)

It would be nice to have your lips cover my anus :)

Texas cannot secede (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413131)

They tried that once, remember? I think it was called The War of Northern Aggression.

Contrary to rumor, Texas didn't join the United States by treaty. I know, I know, you never said they did.

What Texas did get was the right to divide itself into up to 5 pieces without asking further permission of Congress.

Re:Texas cannot secede (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413285)

They tried that once, remember? I think it was called The War of Northern Aggression.

Contrary to rumor, Texas didn't join the United States by treaty. I know, I know, you never said they did.

What Texas did get was the right to divide itself into up to 5 pieces without asking further permission of Congress.

Uh, that document thingy that gives Texas the right to subdivide? It was called, let's see, oh yeah - the _Treaty of Annexation_.

Re:Location, location, location (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413369)

Wait - you think people sue in the Eastern District because of the judges are somehow "troll-friendly"?

Almost all patent plaintiffs ask for a jury trial. What better than to assemble a panel of the finest citizens of Marshall, Texas, to decide the facts of a complex technology case!

True, the judges rule on claim construction and the legal issues - but for the most part, the Eastern District judges have done a good job of quickly and efficiently managing patent cases. People sue in the Eastern District because of the favorable juries and the fast docket.

Having a judge who is an expert in patent law is not a bad thing. However, asking for judges to be in contempt for following patent laws is no different than the right-wingers asking for the Supreme Court justices to be impeached because they enforced a law (or Constitutional interpretation) the right-wingers didn't like.

Congress, wallowing deep in the pockets of lobbyists, drafted the patent laws, and our corporation-loving presidents signed them. Ultimately, those bodies need to change the law to address the patent troll issue. It wouldn't hurt if the Executive branch (the PTO) actually examined patents.

I'm Scared (5, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412859)

I just entered "chmod 755" on a directory so other users could not modify my data. When can I expect the cease and desist order?

Re:I'm Scared (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412881)

This patent seems to be closer to Access Control Lists in VMS. They existed before 1990 of course. IPAT should sue HP.

Re:I'm Scared (2, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413433)

This patent seems to be closer to Access Control Lists in VMS.

Yes, claim one has as prior art just about every access control mechanism known to machine. VMS, Kerberos, probably even venerable MVS. There may or may not be prior art for each particular dependent claim, but they amount to "gathering the foam", as Justice Bradley once put it -- in this case, attempting to secure every combination of digital signatures and ordinary access control.

The other independent claim, Claim 42 would also appear to be anticipated by VMS, and again probably many others. Many of the dependent claims here are laughable; patenting fine grained privilege might be defensible (if it didn't already exist, which it did); patenting particular grains is ridiculous.

The Compartment Mode Workstation work (circa 1990) probably covers quite a few of the claims made here, including those not covered by other OSs.

Re:I'm Scared (5, Funny)

gustar (125316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412887)

A summons to cease and desist is speeding on its way to you as we speak. I took the liberty of including a list of other activities you should immediately cease and desist due to patents which I hold... for example the use of a paper product for the removal of excrement after defecating... I patented that idea and am looking to seek damages for illegal/uncompensated use of said concept.

Re:I'm Scared (0)

brendank310 (915634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413137)

In Soviet Russia, ass wipe YOU!

Re:I'm Scared (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413465)

I patented that idea and am looking to seek damages for illegal/uncompensated use of said concept.

My attorney says you can compensate THIS.

Re:I'm Scared (5, Informative)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412959)

I just entered "chmod 755" on a directory so other users could not modify my data. When can I expect the cease and desist order?

You haven't infringed the patent.

Now, if you want to infringe the patent, you'd have to tell us the command you could issue to allow any program except say, GIMP, from accessing your data. This is 'program access', not 'user access'.

Re:I'm Scared (2, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413471)

Now, if you want to infringe the patent, you'd have to tell us the command you could issue to allow any program except say, GIMP, from accessing your data. This is 'program access', not 'user access'.

I created a group for each program allowed special access, and made the executable for that group "setgid" for that group. Then I used ACLs (not in vanilla Unix, but I believe AFS had them prior to the patent priority date) to make my files readable by certain groups and not by others.

Re:I'm Scared (2, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413501)

vi /etc/sysconfig/selinux semodule -i block_the_gimp.pp setenforce enforcing

Re:I'm Scared (4, Interesting)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413583)

You may have unintentionally brought up an extremely good point: SELinux is/was developed by the NSA for security applications, and is presumably a matter of national security as an invaluable piece of their infrastructure.

Are they suing the US government?

If you're looking for prior art (2, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413271)

Start here [wikipedia.org] .

Direct Link to the more recent patent [uspto.gov] . USPTO needs to look into tinyurl code for short link redirects to content. They're not alone.

It looks like your basic troll patent. They try to get all of the possible potential access control mechanisms for programs in the hope that in the future some of them are employed, without bothering to check that all of them are not already employed decades since. Shoddy work, as one would expect. Is it this easy to get a patent? Maybe I should field a few. What are they, $500?

Somebody will settle anyway. More and more I'm coming to the controversial point of view that asshats like this are doing us a service. They're illustrating that the copyright and patent system we have now works against its stated purpose: to promote progress of science and the useful arts. If only we could start over...

Re:If you're looking for prior art (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413613)

What are they, $500?

More like $10,000 if you hire a good attorney to write it for you. Just the filing fees (USPTO fees) will exceed $500 though.

This is about capabilities not ACLs (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413355)

That said, the guys who developed KeyKOS did it (and patented it) a long time before they did.

http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~KeyKOS/ [upenn.edu]

Re:Never. (2, Informative)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413629)

Don't expect the C&D.

I read the patents, the first one (5,412,717) basically functions as a whitelist to protect users from a computer virus. It includes hashes and specific actions a program can or cannot do. chmod functionality protects data from users, while this invention protects users against viruses. It includes a description of a certification authority system much like SSL certificates, which authenticate the contents of the whitelist explicitly or implicitly.

5,311,591 seems to include something to monitor this activity inside an operating system.

In both cases, emphasis is on the trust hierarchy to provide authority for trusting that such a list is valid.

goodluckwiththat (0, Redundant)

sleekware (1109351) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412871)

You've got to be kidding me...

Isn't it a bit late for this? (2, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412877)

Considering that the patents were granted back in 1994 and 1995, isn't 2009 a little bit late to be suing some of these companies considering how long they've been around. I'm not a lawyer, but isn't there some limited time window where you need to sue someone who's been infringing on your patent.

If not, doesn't the whole patent system become rather predatory whereby some companies do nothing but patent ideas and wait until someone else uses those patents (perhaps accidentally) and makes a significant amount of money from them before suing their pants off?

Is there anyone around more knowledgeable in patent law who might be able to explain things a little better? I tried checking on groklaw to see if there was any coverage there, but nothing has been posted yet.

Re:Isn't it a bit late for this? (2, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412917)

Google for: laches

Re:Isn't it a bit late for this? (4, Informative)

pavera (320634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412919)

yeah unfortunately that is exactly how the patent system works. Trademark is the only IP that you have to "protect" proactively or risk loosing.

With patents it is 100% acceptable to patent a bunch of ideas and then wait for someone else to develop them commercially, and then sue them and take the profits.

Re:Isn't it a bit late for this? (0, Offtopic)

oz_paulb (617486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413239)

losing

Re:Isn't it a bit late for this? (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413531)

Well, thanks to MercExchange vs EBay, it's becoming less true. Also, In re Bilski should hopefully take a bite out of what they can accomplish here.

I'd bet there's prior art for this patent too Unix has been around a long time, and Multics was around before that.

Re:Isn't it a bit late for this? (1)

eggbert.net (217798) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413769)

technically ... sue them and either get a "reasonable royalty" or "lost profits." Lost profits being the profits that the plaintiff lost due to the infringement. Thus, IPAT will likely want a "reasonable royalty." See 35 USC 284. Damages only go back six years from the date the complaint is filed. See 35 USC 286. Thus, only damages for infringement going back to Dec 30, 2002 can be recovered if IPAT prevails.

There are also equitable defenses of laches and estoppel etc but usually there has to be unreasonable delay and reliance on the delay.

I have not researched this case in particular but it could be that the infringement recently started to occur, or started a handful of years ago and IPAT had tried to do this "nicely" but did not have luck. Maybe IPAT is in the wrong.

In any case, hopefully whoever is in the right will come out on top here.

Re:Isn't it a bit late for this? (2, Funny)

gustar (125316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412925)

Considering that the patents were granted back in 1994 and 1995, isn't 2009 a little bit late

It is never to late to sue someone! Slow economic times are the best time to do so. Why pour countless hours into developing good idea/products when you can hire lawyers instead!

The defendants (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26412885)

The lawsuit details are at
  http://www.rfcexpress.com/lawsuit.asp?id=43183

In particular, the 22 defendants are

  Symantec Corp.
  Microsoft Corp.
  AVG Technologies USA, Inc.
  CA, Inc.
  Check Point Software Technologies, Inc.
  Comodo Group, Inc.
  ESET, LLC
  F-Secure, Inc.
  iolo technologies, LLC
  Kaspersky Lab, Inc.
  McAfee, Inc.
  MicroWorld Technologies, Inc.
  NetVeda, LLC
  Norman Data Defense Systems, Inc.
  Novell Inc.
  PC Tools, Inc.
  PWI, Inc.
  Sophos, Inc.
  Sunbelt Software, Inc.
  Trend Micro Incorporated
  Velocity Micro, Inc.
  Webroot Software, Inc.

Re:The defendants (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413095)

I'm surprised they also missed SourceFire, Inc (ClamAV) - and probably a few other AV vendors too.

Re:The defendants (1)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413143)

The whole case screams FAILURE to me, as this has been around for quite a while (pre-patent) and ACLs have more implementations than we could list. They are going after AV vendors, and I fail to see how heuristics violates an ACL/permissions patent.

On an unrelated note, all of the fucking trolls on this page made firefox crash, followed by my X server (I had no swap file at the time). The trolls on /. are getting worse, I think I need to send some patches to the slashcode team.

they missed Intel? (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413643)

Dose not the x86 architecture contain something like this.
those idiot they could sue almost every company in the world!

Re:The defendants (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413771)

Good luck suing Novell; their network operating system (Netware) supported access control lists very early on. They can demonstrate prior art very easily, cutting the legs out from under the suit. Those trolls would have been best off avoiding suing Novell.

13 year delay == no patent claim (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26412979)

Apparently, a six year delay negates patent protection [patentlyo.com] (the patentee has "unreasonably and inexcusably" delayed prosecution) under the same laches idea as made above.

Enforcement Laches does not require detrimental reliance. However, the patentee must be shown to have "unreasonably and inexcusably" delayed bringing suit and that the alleged infringer subsequently suffered material prejudice. A six year delay creates a presumption of laches.

Patent Law Blog (Patently-O): Laches and Equitable Estoppel. [patentlyo.com]

This needs a mod-up, also - 1969, UNIX (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413115)

Apparently, a six year delay negates patent protection [patentlyo.com] (the patentee has "unreasonably and inexcusably" delayed prosecution) under the same laches idea as made above.

Enforcement Laches does not require detrimental reliance. However, the patentee must be shown to have "unreasonably and inexcusably" delayed bringing suit and that the alleged infringer subsequently suffered material prejudice. A six year delay creates a presumption of laches.

Patent Law Blog (Patently-O): Laches and Equitable Estoppel. [patentlyo.com]

This is a very informative post.

By the way, unix [wikipedia.org] , which incorporated the archetypal permission system, was developed in 1969.
This is a clear case of prior art which even a "patent troll judge" cannot ignore. It's neither obscure nor contestable as its history is very well documented.
Any judge who doesn't throw it out of court after unix is brought forward as an example of prior art should be immediately scheduled for competency hearings.

Re:This needs a mod-up, also - 1969, UNIX (4, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413451)

By the way, unix [wikipedia.org] , which incorporated the archetypal permission system, was developed in 1969.
This is a clear case of prior art which even a "patent troll judge" cannot ignore. It's neither obscure nor contestable as its history is very well documented.
Any judge who doesn't throw it out of court after unix is brought forward as an example of prior art should be immediately scheduled for competency hearings.

[Citation needed]
... Or at least a better understanding of what prior art is, before you go calling for competency hearings. The Unix permissions system doesn't disclose all of the limitations of the claimed invention, specifically "establishing a program authorizing information data structure for storing a plurality of authorization entries each indicating at least one of those computer resources and information processing related functions which may be used by an associated program;"

Unix works with user permissions... This is application permissions. You have rwx access to /user/[name]/library, but maybe you don't want /application/fubar to have full access there, even though you're the same user running it. Look, it's right here in the patent:

Thus, the present invention advantageously protects a user from any program to be executed. The present invention is particularly advantageous in light of current data processing practices where programs are obtained from a wide range of diverse, untrustworthy places such as computer bulletin boards or other users of unknown trustworthiness.

99% of what you read on Slashdot regarding patents is not just wrong, but the complete opposite of reality. Such as calling for competency hearings for a judge refusing to invalidate a patent on file permissions at application-specific levels because "unix was developed in 1969".

Re:This needs a mod-up, also - 1969, UNIX (2, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413481)

ok, by that description the concept of user accounts combined with the standard rwx permission system " advantageously protects a user from any program to be executed".

Programs executed in one user space do not affect the programs or data in another user space unless the rwx permissions are changed properly.

in your example:
Unix works with user permissions... This is application permissions. You have rwx access to /user/[name]/library, but maybe you don't want /application/fubar to have full access there

change the permission of the folder to exclude /application/fubar's group. BAM, same thing.

my point still stands.

Re:This needs a mod-up, also - 1969, UNIX (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413551)

change the permission of the folder to exclude /application/fubar's group. BAM, same thing.

my point still stands.

User running /application/fubar still has full rwx access to the folder. So does fubar. Whups. Your point fails.

You may have a point if you're talking about multiple users, but then, again, your point fails, because this patent is talking about a single user.

Re:This needs a mod-up, also - 1969, UNIX (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413663)

change the permission of the folder to exclude /application/fubar's group. BAM, same thing.

my point still stands.

User running /application/fubar still has full rwx access to the folder. So does fubar. Whups. Your point fails.

You may have a point if you're talking about multiple users, but then, again, your point fails, because this patent is talking about a single user.

"application permissions" would be called file associations (also around for a long time), or encrypting the file and attaching a module to the desired application allowing access to the file.

encryption and file associations have also been here since our parents were children.

Re:This needs a mod-up, also - 1969, UNIX (1)

Twanfox (185252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413731)

File associations are not permissions, they are conveniences that the operating system uses to allow a program to predefine what application runs a particular data file. IE: Notepad is the application assocated with .txt, but Wordpad, Word, Textpad, and any number of other applications can be associated with .txt or even run it when the association is not with them.

Also, if you have a binary program that understands .txt files, but you don't want it to go modifying any of those .txt files in your home directory because you're testing it for viruses or just want to see what it is, you could specify that that application is to be giving read access only (not write) to any .txt file in your home directory. THAT is what the patent describes, not associations or fancy applications that do some sort of proprietary encryption on a particular data file.

I don't agree with the patent, I find it reprehensible to wait so long to sue someone, or even to just troll, but at least get your facts straight before spouting off about what you think constitutes prior art.

What about obviousness? (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413697)

Partially side-stepping the question of prior art, I'm wondering about the patentability of these claims on obviousness grounds. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

One of the main requirements of patentability is that the invention being patented is not obvious, meaning that a "person having ordinary skill in the art" would not know how to solve the problem at which the invention is directed by using exactly the same mechanism.

I'm certainly no patent lawyer, but an awful lot of the things we've seen coming out of the USPTO seem to fail the obviousness test on a prima facie basis, such as the infamous Method of swinging on a swing [uspto.gov] , or the Method of concealing partial baldness [uspto.gov] . It seems relatively clear that at least some of the patents being granted are failing the obviousness test. Given this background, is it reasonable to inquire whether "a person having ordinary skill in the art" of computer systems security might not find IPAT's claims to be, well, obvious as a natural extension of Unix's user-based security apparatus?

Cheers,

Re:This needs a mod-up, also - 1969, UNIX (1)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413463)

How about this for irony: "Bell Labs used this initial "text processing system", made up of Unix, roff, and the editor, for text processing of patent applications." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unix [wikipedia.org]

Penny Arcade -- ahead of their time (2, Funny)

efalk (935211) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412985)

This comic says it all. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/1/2/ [penny-arcade.com]

Re:Penny Arcade -- ahead of their time (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413263)

Yes, a whole 9 days before their time.

Re:Penny Arcade -- ahead of their time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413269)

I don't get the "ahead of their time" part. The comic is like a week old. The whole software patent troll (and related) thing has been going on for ages... What, about 30 years or so? Penny Arcade didn't even exist then so they already know what's up.

Straight to step 3: ???? (2, Insightful)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413021)

It could have just been omitted from the article (or just unknown/not thought to ask), but I see nothing about the sue-ee contacting any of these companies seeking royalty payments before whipping out the good ol' lawyer.

I also note that IPAT "apparently purchased these patents from their listed inventor of Addison M. Fischer". It doesn't give the date that they bought it (I presume one could look through patent records to see a transfer of ownership?), but I would not be surprised at all if the purchase went through on Dec. 29 when the suit was filed Dec. 30.

If they did indeed jump straight to step three, I hope the court smacks them down. Companies should be required to put forth a good faith effort to enter into royalty agreements with those using their patents before wasting tax payer dollars. Also, since they were granted in the mid 90s, something about due diligence towards protecting an IP, or else it's relegated to the public domain (or the companies already using it do not have to pay royalties to continue using it in the same manner).

Even better, if this isn't already done, if someone files a patent/copyright suit, they have to pay for the judge, baliff, stenographer, etc. If the IP is truly that important, they'll have no problem spending an extra $100K to get it. Of course, this could backfire and cause independent inventors to not get the royalties rightly owed them, so some sort of middle ground would be best.

Re:Straight to step 3: ???? (2, Informative)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413165)

>Even better, if this isn't already done, if someone files a patent/copyright suit, they have to pay for the judge, baliff, stenographer, etc. If the IP
>is truly that important, they'll have no problem spending an extra $100K to get it.

Oh sure you say that *now*, when you don't have some company publishing your book/song/program. I think you'd have a different opinion if you were defending your own work against someone who has claimed it.

Re:Straight to step 3: ???? (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413265)

Hence why I wrote the second half of the paragraph you quoted.

Re:Straight to step 3: ???? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413171)

Excellect set of assumptions. But, what if the original inventor tried to get somewhere for five years and everyone ignored him because they assumed he had no resources to actually persue a lawsuit to enforce a royalty agreement? He finally finds a company that will buy the patents from him for pennies on the dollar because they have the money to file the lawsuits that will finally cause the folks ignoring the patents to sit up and take notice.

You see, the legal system isn't entirely broken but often large companies think they can get away with anything. Especially when the opponent has few resources to actually go after them. It is regrettably true that it takes money to make money. And if you have no assets, no credit and no friends you can find yourself in a situation like this one.

Not saying that is precisely what happened, but it is wrong to assume this is all a scam with no foundation behind it.

Re:Straight to step 3: ???? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413475)

If they did indeed jump straight to step three, I hope the court smacks them down. Companies should be required to put forth a good faith effort to enter into royalty agreements with those using their patents before wasting tax payer dollars. Also, since they were granted in the mid 90s, something about due diligence towards protecting an IP, or else it's relegated to the public domain (or the companies already using it do not have to pay royalties to continue using it in the same manner).

As much as we like to rant about "activist judges", wouldn't it be "activist" for a court to "smack down" this company, considering there's nothing in the Patent Act that requires due diligence (you're thinking Trademark) or good faith efforts (since patent rights are exclusionary rights)? Perhaps the judges would be wrong to "legislate from the bench", and this would be an area best left to Congress to fix.

Re:Straight to step 3: ???? (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413657)

this would be an area best left to Congress to fix.

Ahahahaha... but you're mostly right.

Still, I don't think it's outside a judge's ability to say "Look, stop wasting my time. You all go out there, get a caterer, pow wow over royalties, and if you really can't come to some agreement, then come back and we'll do this thing." It's not so much requiring that they do A or B, more like telling them to try acting like adults before the trial continues/commences.

Botting (5, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413053)

I could make a bot/spider that scanned the whole internet for phrases that could be construed as ideas. Then have a bot copy that idea into a patent form and send it in. I figure it will cost me about 5million dollars or so to get a sizable chunk of ideas in the world. Then in 5years or i can sue every for several billion dollars.
  So who wants to invest in my company, Trolls R Us (NASDAQ: FUCK).

Re:Botting (2, Interesting)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413321)

Thats usin the ol' noggin. Who do I write a check out to?

Re:Botting (5, Funny)

agendi (684385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413483)

Great idea. I'm patenting it now!

Time to rethink patent laws (4, Insightful)

zwekiel (1445761) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413073)

When patents were first granted, it was on the justification that they engendered innovation and research by providing a fair incentive for companies to develop new technology. At this point, any argument relying on this justification has become completely broken.

Patents have begun to do the exact opposite of what they were meant to do. Rather than encourage development of new technologies, patents have become a way to choke the application of novel technologies in industry. So-called "patent holding companies" have become little more than extortion gangs, demanding their share of the money to which they have no right at all. Governments across the globe have extended copyright and patents, not for the protection of the people and industry, but at the behest of lobbyists.

Patents, as they exist in their current form, are not fair to anyone, except the patent owner. Governments must adopt a fairer stance in order to reverse this alarming trend. Lower the duration of patents, and adopt a system of mandatory royalties, which forces patent owners to license their patents for a fair royalty, determined by a third party.

Re:Time to rethink patent laws (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413489)

At this point, any argument relying on this justification has become completely broken.

Patents, as they exist in their current form, are not fair to anyone, except the patent owner.

You make a whole lot of assertions here without any evidence to back them up. Given that patents have a limited term and then pass into the public domain, the "fairness" comes not out of exclusionary rights to the owner, but from required disclosure to the public to allow further innovation. Since that's the specific intent both of Congress and the drafters of the Constitution, what's "unfair" about them or "broken" about the justification?

Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413075)

Isn't there prior art for this dating back to the 70s?

Re:Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413621)

I would start with RACF and TOPSECRET. I would also look at MVS's concept of authorized program libraries.

A Modest Proposal ... (4, Interesting)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413163)

With apologies to Jonathan Swift...Most of this crap seems to come out of LLCs (limited liability companies). That allows LLCs to go on wanton suing binges like this and never have to face the consequences of losing. However, if the principals had to personally face the consequences if their bogus patents are overturned by prior art, or they otherwise lose, it would be a lot more interesting. Patent suits by outfits which produce no products are just shakedowns. Lets treat them like shakedowns....

Try it and lose, the corporate officers, the partners, the corporate account, and the stockholders (if any) should be held personally liable) not only for the legal fees of the successful defendants, but also for treble damages. No bankruptcies allowed. That would be real interesting. Wonder how many bogus suits we'd see then.

Legal changes required: 1) definition of a patent troll; 2) stripping patent troll LLC's of their protected liability status; 3) stripping them of bankruptcy eligibility, both as corporations as as individuals; and, 4) loser pays winner's legal fees + triple punitive damages. Better still, add patent-troll lawyers to the list of liable parties. Finally, make three time losers eligible for life in prison, and strip them of the right to file or own patents. This would have no effect on legitimate companies that produce real products, such as those being sued by patent-troll parasites. /end soapbox rant

Now, mod me into oblivion.

tactics (1)

alieneye (86920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413195)

I'm guessing they don't have a real case so their tactic is to sue all companies at once, and cash in on the few that settle. They risk losing all if they start with just one case and lose it.

Patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413261)

They always makes me think of the "surprise, buttsecks" meme...

Setuid + Setgid = Prior Art (3, Interesting)

coppro (1143801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413325)

Seriously. Make a new user & group. Chown a binary to that user & group. chmod ug+s the binary. Ensure you have execution permissions. Run it. That pretty much satisfies everything in the patent - the program has a limited set of permissions associated with it that can be loaded on a per-program basis every time it executes.

No Problem (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413377)

chown ritchie_thompson 5,412,717 [uspto.gov]

all fixed :-)

prior art all the way (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413401)

Prior art all the way.

It is a bit satisfying however to have MS be the target of a patent troll.

It is even nicer that some how they could not figure out how to name open source projects as defendant.

Eventually everyone will figure out that open source will be as close as you get to judgment proof in this patent system.

Re:prior art all the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26413631)

> It is a bit satisfying however to have MS be the target of a patent troll.

The next time it's going to be the Mozilla Foundation or Google, and I bet you
won't be feeling so satisfied when that happens.

Used in CP6 (1)

PeterJFraser (572070) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413525)

I believe that this permission structure was built in to Honeywell CP6 OS dating from the mid 70's, and possible it's predecessor Zerox CP5

Filed in 1992? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413541)

Sorry, that's bullshit. This is just the latest in many patents that were only issued because the USPTO is incapable of properly searching prior art.

limits the ability of a program about to be executed to the use of predened resources (e.g., data les, disk writing capabilities etc

KeyKOS had already done this back in the 1970s.

-jcr

Some quick investigation (1)

pha3r0 (1210530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413585)

In a former life I did high balance corporate skip tracing for collection purposes. I just did a quick skip on IPAT Texas Comptroller's Filing Record [state.tx.us] . I haven't called yet but there's a nice lady that works there that will usually pull up the actual files and get all the goods from the original filings i.e. who signed the original corp documents. However if you look Fischer is the only registered "member" of that corp. Usually in Texas that means he was on the original papers as President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Which if I had to guess means he registered the corporation and "sold" his ideas to it in order to protect himself from backlash of a fraudulent lawsuit. This will be fun to see go to court.

Would that be permissions in software? (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413603)

The Court of Appeals recently threw out software and business method patents. This is just some schmuck's feeble last hope that someone will settle before his patents are inevitably invalidated. SCO HO HO HO it's not going to work me thinks.

x86 architecture (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413667)

Dose not the x86 architecture contain a method to do this with the Protection layers or something?
It stop applications excuting at the wrong level and manages system calls.

Even older prior art from IBM? (1)

Cherveny (647444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26413773)

Seems like MVS on IBM mainframes had the capabilities that are covered by this patent, and it's been around for ages.
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