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Software Installation/Update via Internet Patented

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the 35-claims dept.

Patents 519

RKBA writes "My wife just handed me an article from the Wednesday, October 22, 2003 issue of the Wall Street Journal about a tiny Austin, TX company called Bluecurrent that has been awarded patent No. 6,636,857 covering the Internet installation of any software or settings on new computers. The patent was granted by the USPTO on October 21, 2003. It will be interesting to see if it can be enforced. I think it's time for someone to file a patent on Earth, Fire, and Water. ;-)"

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It's official (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7373994)

It's official. There is no God, the madness will never end. Kill me now.

Re:It's official (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374037)

> It's official. There is no God, the madness will never end. Kill me now.

well, we're gonna have a hard time /.ing you if you don't give us your IP...

MOD PARENT UP! (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374210)

well, we're gonna have a hard time /.ing you if you don't give us your IP...

Very nice pun, in a story about patents :)

WILDCAT IS ON TEH SPOKE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7373995)

Re:WILDCAT IS ON TEH SPOKE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374028)

i want to have teh sex with every woman on g4tv. is that wrong?

Re:WILDCAT IS ON TEH SPOKE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374088)

They have women on g4?

Re:WILDCAT IS ON TEH SPOKE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374178)

no, just unlikely

It Gets Worse (5, Informative)

John_McKee (100458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7373996)

According to the WSJ article, They have already found a law firm willing to pursue the claim for a contingency fee.

"Mr. Thomas said Bluecurrent intends to seek royalties of $10 to $25 for each time a new computer has software or other settings updated over the Web."

Re:It Gets Worse (5, Interesting)

BenFranske (646563) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374049)

Sounds like trouble for users of Micro$oft's Windows Update. Or for the *NIX users of apt-get and similar utilities. Of course, coming up with prior art should be no problem and the rich Micro$oft will fight this for you.

Re:It Gets Worse (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374100)

Micro$oft is teh evil! You are teh funnay! I wish I could sheep-troll like you! I want to suck Linus's cock! Mmmmm delicious Linus-cock, looks just like a penguin!

Re:It Gets Worse (5, Funny)

CrowScape (659629) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374078)

If they can enforce it they'll make a mint from all those spam/pr0n sites that try to change your homepage settings when you accidentally visit them.

Re:It Gets Worse (5, Funny)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374105)

Oh yea, accidentally, I bet.

Patent this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7373998)

Frost piss.

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7373999)

FP! Eat it, bitches!

Wind? (5, Funny)

toeofdestiny (519453) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374002)

I think it's time for someone to file a patent on Earth, Fire, and Water. ;-)

Wind is already patented?

Re:Wind? (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374017)

They were just afraid to violate the IP on "Earth, Wind & Fire."

KFG

Re:Wind? (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374029)

Of course, Microsoft Windblows :)

Re:Wind? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374181)

You forgot to spell it out as "Micro$oft". You're not doing a very good job of following the herd while you troll, are you pal. Tough break, go jerk off to a penguin.

Re:Wind? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374051)

Not sure about Wind, but SCO seems to have the exclusive rights to hot air....

Re:Wind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374102)

Well scents can be patented or trademarked or something (IANAL)

What kind of wind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374150)

You're going to patent anal scents?

Re:Wind? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374209)

Royalties on farts! I'll be rich. Celibrate: Free burritos on me, everyone.

I DO IT WRONG!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374006)

I do it wrong

Laying here in the shadows of my room, I squint up at my love. My Ms. Portman. I am sore and tired after fucking her for eight solid hours. My chapped and aching dick is soaking in grits to relieve the pain. She gets on her knees and starts lapping the grits up out of the bowl. She places her beautiful hands on my penis and starts to lick the grits off my achy piece.
Massaging my nutsack she....

WAIT, I DO IT WRONG!!!!

Yanking my dick out of her mouth I throw her to the ground and shove it in to her gaping freshly fisted ass. [goatse.cx]

"OH BIG ASS SPORK!! Fuck my ass, fuck my ass good. DEEPER, my stallion, deeper!! Make a Beowulf cluster of sperm on my back!!"

"Imagine a Beowulf cluster of this baby!"

I DO IT WRONG!!!!

I continue to hump her alabaster form. Glistening with beads of sweat, she bites her lip in delight as I tear her ass open with my engorged dick.

"Queen Amidala!!" I shreik as I near climax.

She looks up at me and screams, "You are so alive in me, unlike *BSD or VA Software!!! Fill me with seed!! Yes, Yes, Yess!!!!"

"For me you are calling, hhhmmm?"

"YODA?!? What the fuck, can't you see I am using the force here?"

He savagely kicks my Natalie aside, he pulls out his large green penis and impales me...

I DO IT WRONG!!

All your sporkz are belong to the dead homiez!!

Re:I DO IT WRONG!!! (0, Offtopic)

node159 (636992) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374041)

Dood!

You REALY need to get out more!

Re:I DO IT WRONG!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374192)

Replace "tear her ass open with my engorged dick" with "copy a 20 MB file from one folder on her hard drive to another", and it will be perfect.

Oh, and work GNAA into there somewhere, too.

Oh no! (2, Funny)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374007)

I think it's time for someone to file a patent on Earth, Fire, and Water.
...Just keep them away from Earth, Wind, and Fire--that's all I ask!

has anyone patented this: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374008)

multiple computers connected by digital communications?

Yeah, and (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374011)

I'm gonna patent Air and Spirit.

Apt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374014)

Will Debian have to move APT to non-us now?

Re:Apt? (1, Interesting)

WanderingGhost (535445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374128)

Will Debian have to move APT to non-us now?

What about the BSD ports tree? How old is it? Would it be possible to consider that prior art?

RTFA! (5, Informative)

bigHairyDog (686475) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374016)

NO! This is *not* a patent "covering the Internet installation of any software or settings on new computers".

This is a patent covering backing up preferences on a remote server so that someone can safely upgrade their OS or move computers.

To recap:

  1. We are not all going to die
  2. It's all going to be OK
  3. Profit!

I wish /.ers would check their facts before screaming how the sky is going to fall on our heads every time the USPTO grants a patent.


MOD PARENT UP (1)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374044)

He's right.

That said, who can blame anyone for assuming the worst-case here?

Isn't this like Apple's .Mac? (2, Interesting)

Rascasse (719300) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374045)

.Mac allows me to backup much of my data and utilize that data on other computers. I wonder if these people will go after Apple.

Re:RTFA! (0)

falxx (456915) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374070)

-can- that include cookies too? Patented? Pretty please?

Re:RTFA! (5, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374076)

Ah yes, patenting ftp and email to store your own files is sooooooooo much better.

KFG

Re:RTFA! (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374090)

Does this mean that I can no longer tar up /home/USER_NAME and copy it to a backup server unless I pay them money?

The USPTO is getting more and more fucked up each and every day.

Re:RTFA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374117)

READ THE PATENT INFORMATION. It's a web-driven process, for fuck's sake!

DAldredge, -2 (Stupid)!

Re:RTFA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374185)

So somehow you think that ftp, get, put and ls are patently different from http and get, post, and no index.html?

Or maybe you're just being sarcastic.

Re:RTFA! (4, Funny)

Josh Booth (588074) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374130)

Of course not, you just have to do a quick "rm -rf ~/.*" before you send your home directory to the backup computer. Just remember to "mv ~/.porn ~/porn" before you do that.

MOD PARENT DOWN (1, Insightful)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374147)

Poll: 75% of Palestinians support Haifa restaurant attack:

Sig-lines like this should warrant posts automatically being modded down as off-topic or troll.

Re:RTFA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374104)

the worst part is just reading the first said claim:
A method for asset management utilizing the World Wide Web, comprising:
Accessing the World Wide Web using a user's computer-related hardware device;
transferring information from said computer-related hardware device through said World Wide Web to a remote storage medium;
transferring said information from said remote storage medium to a new computer-related hardware device; and using said information from said computer-related hardware device on said new computer-related hardware device to update said user's settings on said new computer-related hardware device.

If they just said what they said, unstead of said,it would have been much easier to say.

Re:RTFA! (2, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374112)

This was filed December of 2002: I think Microsoft "roaming profiles" (of course their patent claims that the unique aspect is "access the world wide web", which is a clause that should immediately send any patent application to the garbage bin), or even ICQ (which stores settings and contact lists on their server) had them beat quite handily.

This is yet another bullshit patent that claims uniqueness (in this case to the rather bland "backup data" process) by adding "World Wide Web". I repeat: Any patent that includes any reference to the "World Wide Web" or "Internet" should be immediately discarded.

Re:RTFA! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374132)

Any patent that includes any reference to the "World Wide Web" or "Internet" should be immediately discarded.

Any post that makes a mind-numbingly retarded blanket statement should be immediately modded down.

Including this one.

Re:RTFA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374204)

Any AC stalker that writes nonsensical claptrap in response to an insightful post needs to be eviscerated.

Re:RTFA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374115)

The sky may not fall, but I read the full text link of the patent, and it seems very general to me. The description they give violates my "prior art".

More than a decade ago I copied hosts, *.conf and other files to an ftp server, and pulled them down to my new servers. This patent clearly violates my amazing process. Where are those SCO lawyers, I smell big money here.

Re:RTFA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374163)

No it doesn't! Where did you utilize the WWW? Did you even read the links in the article?? YOU'RE AN IDIOT!

What the fuck is with everyone on Slashdot today? Did you all pop Stupid Pills?!?!

Re:RTFA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374119)

I wish /.ers would check their facts before screaming how the sky is going to fall on our heads every time the USPTO grants a patent.

Amen. In addition, I wish they would get it through their heads that questionable patents have the effect of *weakening* patent protection, which is supposedly what they want in the first place. When has the /. crowd actually lost something they liked due to patent infringement? Anybody?

Re:RTFA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374149)

When was the last time the majority of these Linux-worshipping, anti-anything-that-is-actually-profitable sheep have made any sense?

Parent correct -- read the abstract! (5, Informative)

jhujoe (579368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374129)

Abstract The method and system of the present invention provides an improved technique for replacing, implementing and managing computer-related assets. A technician accesses the World Wide Web through a user's computer. The information resident on the computer, including information regarding the computer and the user's preferences, are downloaded to a remote storage medium through the World Wide Web. Once downloaded, all information may be removed from the user's computer. Subsequently, the technician accesses another computer such as, for example, a new computer that has been assigned to the same user. The technician accesses the World Wide Web through the new computer and downloads the information previously stored on the remote storage medium. This information can then be used to install the user's prior applications, settings and preferences on the new computer.
As the parent noted, as would anybody who actually took the time to read the patent abstract (which apparently does NOT the original poster), this patent is for using the web as a place to migrate settings and data from one computer to another.

Now, in my opinion, the actual patent is also ridiculous and way too broad in scope, but not nearly as bad as the picture painted by /.

Re:Parent correct -- read the abstract! (1)

miruku (642921) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374162)

"World Wide Web"

so, this only covers http?

Re:Parent correct -- read the abstract! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374194)

Sigh... it's called a definition [w3.org] .

Re:RTFA! (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374138)

This is a patent covering backing up preferences on a remote server so that someone can safely upgrade their OS or move computers.

Right, but, as the special case of using a web browser.

If bookmark files count as preferences, then there's plenty of prior art. People have been uploading bookmarks to servers using INPUT TYPE=FILE since before '98.

Re:RTFA! (1)

the uNF cola (657200) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374146)

Sounds like windows roaming profiles.

Re:RTFA! (1)

Meor (711208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374148)

bigHairyDog is right, this patent is very specific and covers a lot less than the assinine blog submitter let on. Even if this guy somehow snuck a patent through that had prior art, patents mean nothing until they are tested in court. So if the patent filer did in fact file something that had prior art it that was somehow covered by tar or ftp or something, it would be easy to prove in court and get the patent struck down. I'm so glad slashdotters don't control the USPTO because some of you guys have to be the stupidest people in the world. You don't know how patents work or even how to read them to see what they cover. Stick to software writing because you guys have no clue how law works.

Re:RTFA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374158)


To recap:

1. We are not all going to die
2. It's all going to be OK
3. Profit!

I wish /.ers would check their facts before screaming how the sky is going to fall on our heads every time the USPTO grants a patent.


RTFA? You must be new here. And, it's:

1. We are not all going to die.
2. ???
3. Profit.

Re:RTFA! (1)

Rumagent (86695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374177)

This is a patent covering backing up preferences on a remote server so that someone can safely upgrade their OS or move computers.


Please not that it says "Information" not preferences. I the full text things like passwords and bookmarks are mentioned. I am not certain what this means - except from the obvious: another fscked up patent:(

Re:RTFA! (4, Interesting)

LoadStar (532607) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374203)

NO! This is *not* a patent "covering the Internet installation of any software or settings on new computers".
This is a patent covering backing up preferences on a remote server so that someone can safely upgrade their OS or move computers.

Agreed. Reading the patent, one sees that they describe a web-based process where one can access a web page, back up files comprising a user's environment, go to a new workstation, and restore said files.

What they describe is essentially a web-based version of Microsoft's FAST (File And Settings Transfer) Wizard [microsoft.com] from Windows XP.

Re:RTFA! (1)

rongage (237813) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374223)

While it does sound a bit like Windows Roaming Profiles, it sounds a lot more like USMT - User Settings Migration Tool - a utility included with Windows XP for migrating user settings from one machine to another.

The bigger question is: does "using the world wide web" mean using TCP ports 80 & 443, or does it mean the more broad using TCP/IP connectivity between computers/servers.

Re:RTFA! (1)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374227)

The guys bbehind nautilus have prior art on this. As do many other companies.

Sigh (2, Informative)

Empiric (675968) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374021)

Mainframes.

(And please don't tell me this applies "originally" to the World Wide Web... if that matters I'm applying for a patent to do the exact same thing "for IP block 90.x.x.x".)

I know, I'm Karma Whoring... (3, Informative)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374023)

...but here's a link [out-law.com] to a relevant article.

I hope someone counter-sues them into the dust!

GO USA! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374032)

Aren't American Citizens ASHAMED of the US Patent Office? I know I would be.

Then people think about the USA = stupid stereotype and wonder where it comes from. It's not just GWB.

Breathing (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374033)

Well I will just patent breathing and sue everyone. Now I'm sorry that there has to be prior art to this. Surely even Windows Update covers this. Prehaps MS should just bring up a test case as they have deep enough pockets. Then again they will probably just buy the patent for stupid amounts then tax everyone else

Rus

Hehe (1)

dolo666 (195584) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374034)

I find it especially funny that this amazing company can't be accessed from my computer due to their use of Shockwave Flash, which I removed because it is being systematically abused by large websites for popup ads.

I'm guessing their current plans are equally as amazing!

Re:Hehe (4, Funny)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374054)

I'm sure they are just trying to cash in on the fact that IE will automatically try to download the Flash plugin.

People patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374036)

"I think it's time for someone to file a patent on Earth, Fire, and Water. ;-)"

I hold a patent on Eart, Wind, and Fire [earthwindandfire.com]

Earth, Fire and Water!? (1)

Anomander (672837) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374040)

And I always thought the name was Earth, Wind and Fire [earthwindandfire.com] ...
And can you patent a band?

RTFA, this patent is quite specific! (4, Informative)

RT Alec (608475) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374043)

It looks like this is a bit more specific than the original post would lead one to believe. It does not cover installing software remotely. This patent is more about saving a user's settings remotely, then transferring them to a new computer. Looks like it is a way to facilitate the use of a remote IT staff. It does not look like it covers downloading software install packs, nor does it seem to cover software updates. But hey, IANAL :)

Re:RTFA, this patent is quite specific! (2, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374127)

This is getting ridiculous. Articles are being more frequently posted that are seriously inaccurate, or based on pure conjecture a la recent furore over Apple not updating their older OS's. Can we see some more intelligent editor intervention in assertaining the actual facts before the article gets posted.

Re:RTFA, this patent is quite specific! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374213)

The editors don't care. They're pushing an Open Source agenda, and have no qualms about spreading misinformation as long as their agenda is advanced.

And you think "Micro$oft" is the only evil entity out there, this site is no better.

Re:RTFA, this patent is quite specific! (1)

curious.corn (167387) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374198)

So CMU is supposed to pay 25$*client for every ACAP [cmu.edu] client? Oh, that's not the same thing... how 'bout putting a shameless cache to app config in the acap client and get in the lawyers' crosshairs?

Re:RTFA, this patent is quite specific! (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374206)

Yes, but on the other hand, that is still an old feature. For example, if you are logging in to a Windows NT domain from a Windows 95 machine, it will save your user settings on the server. If you log in from a new machine, they get transfered to the new machine and stored in its local profile settings. It was annoying because if you logged in with the machine unplugged as your FIRST login, it uses default settings. Then you plug it in later and it says "Oh, newer settings! Update!" The other annoyance is that, say you install Mozilla on one computer. When you go and use another, you will have the Mozilla icon on your desktop, and in your settings...but it won't work since none of the binaries are on the new machine. So unless all the machines you use have the same software, you end up with lots of bad shortcuts. In summary, good idea, poor execution, although I seem to recall in Win 98, it at least asked before overwriting your network profile...

Re:RTFA, this patent is quite specific! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374234)

This *is* a new feature, because it utilizes the World Wide Web, which you would have known had you read the fucking article.

Die of AIDS!

Details... (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374050)

But most of the software's that install over internet only download the installer over the internet.

After that the installer run's locally, i.e. the installer executable is running on the consumer's PC not on the webserver.

So unless the patent cover's downloading over internet, which in turn would mean patenting the HTTP or FTP or any kind of File transfering protocol, I don't see how can they apply this patent.

Good.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374057)

maybe this will stop all those browser hi-jack programs like comet cursor and gator that auto installs on browers with low security.

This should be in the European press. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374059)

Any of you readers who live in europe should be writing letters or whatever else is necessary to get your local media in some way to report this and other stories like this.

You need for the Great Washed, the computer-uninformed persons of europe, to become aware that if software patents go forward in Europe, this is the sort of thing you have to look forward to.

They need to understand that software patents will not help the innovators. They will simply mean that by some kind of strange lottery system, the first person to successfully get through a bs application describing something that is already an obvious, common practice will suddenly "own" that practice.

They need to understand that software patents help nobody who actually makes a profit, and will only help vultures like this Austin company who have never made a product anyone noticed; at the one end, it causes the small companies to do a strange dance around concepts that they thought of but turned out to already be patented; at the other end, it causes the large companies to obsessively spend time, money, and effort tossing all their obvious ideas they can think of at the patent system in hopes that enough of them will be granted they can generate a strong "patent shield".

-- Super Ugly Ultraman

Omce again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374061)

The US Patent Offide has it's head up it's collective ass. SPAM the patentholders...track them down and SPAM them. Be relentless, they deserve no less. Snail mail SPAM, Email SPAM, pron until they relinquish the patent. SPAM the US Patent Office, nail all the guilty parties.

Re:Omce again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374131)

Ahem. I hold the patents on both snail mail spam and email spam. Every instance of spamming requires a $10 royalty fee to me.

Congratulations, Bluecurrent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374066)

You just earned you asshole merit badge!

Mozilla (1)

Espectr0 (577637) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374071)

What about mozilla .xpi installs?
Or windowsupdate?

Or plugins?

Re:Mozilla (2, Interesting)

BurKaZoiD (611246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374237)

What about mozilla .xpi installs? Or windowsupdate? Or plugins?

For that matter what about large Active Directory structures that span large areas, even crossing state or country borders, and that utilize SMS for any type of maintenance? Obviously, within a local network it's a no brainer, but I have SysAdmin friends that do manage large networks that are spread all over the world.

And no, I didn't RTFA.

Just one example of prior art (3, Interesting)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374093)

BookmarkSync, which has recently gone open source [sourceforge.net] . This does exactly what they're talking about in the patent, the preferences here being bookmarks, of course, and this was being done well before the 2001 application date of the patent.

Well, what I say is (1)

FractusMan (711004) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374099)

Aaah hahaha. Pahahahhahahaha. Ooooooh my... PAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh MAN, I ... I JUST LAUGH MAAHAHAH WMwmahahahahahaha, can't... PAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA. It with... with the... and update... PAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA.

New Patent (1)

CSharpMinor (610476) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374109)

Patent on abuse of the patent system

Abstract: This patent shall cover the act of patenting an idea, concept or plan for the purposes of eliminating competition, stopping another party from pursuing an idea which I find threatening, or creating a method of suing other people. The act of patenting an obvious or previously-invented idea is also covered by this patent.

Easy to get around this patent... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374122)

Read the actual text [uspto.gov]

It repeatedly refers to using the "world wide web" to do its magic.

As most slashdot geeks know, the internet is far, far more than the world wide web. The web is a small subset of the internet.

So do everything outlined in the patent, just use ftp, ssh, NFS or samba.

I think the lawyer/patent agent who wrote this thing needs a cluestick.

Too bad for the company.

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374159)

Kinda neat!

Obvious? (5, Funny)

redgopher (650527) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374126)

I think it's time for someone to file a patent on Earth, Fire, and Water


With your powers combined, I am Captain Patent!!

Over the Internet... Technology? (1)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374133)

Seems to be the new Buzz word of Patentology.

Patentology - The process of putting patents on everyday common tasks.

Who would consider adding on "Over the ineternet" onto a common task and call it "Technology". Not I, Thats for sure. Then tossing a patent on it. This is totally out of hand.. This needs to stop sooner rather than later.

my patent - DOS attacks. (0)

super_ogg (620337) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374142)

I plan on patenting DOS attacks. Someone's going to pay me whether what they are doing is illegal or not.
ogg

NOT about software updates (4, Informative)

LauraW (662560) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374143)

As someone else pointed out, this patent isn't about software updates; it's about preferences and other user settings. You have to read the patent's "Claims" section to know what it covers. They're the only part that really matters.

The scary part of this patent isn't the user settings stuff, it's this claim:

25. A method for asset management using the World Wide Web, comprising:
  • accessing the World Wide Web through a series of computer-related hardware devices connected to a network;
  • transferring information regarding each computer-related hardware device in said series of computer-related hardware devices to a remote storage medium;
  • compiling information related to said series of computer-related hardware devices derived from said information residing on said remote storage medium; and
  • preparing and disseminating reports compiled from said information.
This seems to cover cases where every computer on a network (say in a corporate IT environment) uploads a bit of information about itself to a server, and then someone prepares a report based on that information. But there must be prior art on this one. And it would be pretty easy to get around this claim anyway -- just poll the machines for information rather than having them upload it to a central server.

the patent only covers www, not the internet (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374161)

so does that mean the patent only protects such activities when the transfer takes place through port 80 on the server?

"The method and system of the present invention provides an improved technique for replacing, implementing and managing computer-related assets. A technician accesses the World Wide Web through a user's computer."

Only covers updates via the "World Wide Web" (4, Insightful)

slyfox (100931) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374182)

This patent specifically covers using the World Wide Web to update a computer; it does not cover all possible ways to update software via the Internet (the web is just the subset of the internet that uses HTTP and HTML). Thus, if you perform automatic updates without using HTTP or HTML (say, XML and SCP), this patent does not affect you. In essence, this patent is easy to work around, so it should have much of a long-term effect on the world as we know it.

I suspect the only reason this patent was issued was due to this specific nature of the claims; however, in the short-run this pattent still might cause some big headaches if the lawyers get really over eager (which always seems to happen...)

Re:Only covers updates via the "World Wide Web" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374205)

WinWay Resume had auto updates via the WWW since November of 1998.

It doesn't seem that broad (4, Insightful)

HardCase (14757) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374191)

After reading the patent, the claims that are made don't appear to support updating or installing software over the Internet. They do seem to support maintaining a database of system settings that can be updated at a given workstation by a technician, then accessed by the same, or different technician, in order to account for existing user settings and to maintain a list of installed hardware and software so that when a software installation is performed, the technician can rely on this database to make sure that the software is installed to the user's satisfaction. It really seems to me that all that is really claimed is a way to utilize a remote database to maintain records of a particular computer's software and hardware configuration. The things that we write down on paper are now contained in a database. The critical part of the patent appears to be that the database is relational, maintained at a different location from the computer under examination and is accessed via the Internet.


There aren't any claims about installing software or software updates. Perhaps a case could be made that an online software installation/update system that copies a computer's configuration from the computer to a remote system via the Internet could be infringing, but as far as I can tell software installers/updaters simply send an installer program that examines what's on the computer, then requests the appropriate files from the remote server. And it seems to me that that's how it should be done, anyway.


Nonetheless, this still does not seem like anything particularly novel. The idea of maintaining a database of settings is certainly nothing new. Making that database accessible over the Internet doesn't seem like a particularly significant improvement. In fact, what is (critically) missing is automation. The claims that are made in the patent specifically call for the intervention of a technician in the process, to interpret the settings reported from the remote database. Regardless of the novelty of the idea, it doesn't seem to be as broadly applicable as the title of the /. summary makes it appear. I'm sure that the company can try to sue to enforce the patent against others delivering software updates over the Internet, but the claims that the patent makes (at least the novel claims) are so narrow that I don't think that they will enjoy too much success.


And it seems that if anybody wants to look at an existing system that might infringe, Red Hat's RHN system may be just the thing. But I think that it's been around since well before 2002.


-h-

Re:It doesn't seem that broad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374218)

In fact, what is (critically) missing is automation

No, they covered that in the claims. They claim a system where the configuration info is updated in real time.

Of course, they limit their claims to the "world wide web". You can implement the exact same thing using ssh or CVS and it will not be infringing.

OMFG what about the apt system (2, Insightful)

aws4y (648874) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374207)

Does this mean I have to pay $10 to $25 when I use apt. I mean it seems pretty clear to me that apt goes through the method of the patent. I think the USPTO has gone to far.

My plan (1)

ThenAgain (627263) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374212)

I intend to file for a business practice patent covering filing fraudulent method patents as a revenue source. Who's with me?

There must be some prior art before Dec 2002 ! (2, Informative)

openmtl (586918) | more than 10 years ago | (#7374235)

Roaming profiles seem to be prior art for this one !. Also what about likes of NortonsGhost or Veritas and the myriad of backup systems that save user data to network for bare-metal recoveries. Puting magic words of world wide web just means using http to transfer files: nothing new and done many time before. Bluecurrent probaly can't believe their luck in getting this patent. User settings saved on a network so that you can re-use these when you re-install on another machine (asset) ! Shit, I would never have thought of doing that ! No my first thought when I re-install my PCs is to copy my files from my local hard disk to my local hard disk; you know, the one I'm about to format/junk/rebuild !. Doh !.

Is it me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7374238)

... or did they just patent rcp?
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