or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac OS X › Apple among PC makers sued over OS permissions tech
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple among PC makers sued over OS permissions tech

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Apple is among a dozen systems builders being sued this month for infringing on a pair of patents that cover system-wide software permissions for defining the range of operations that computer applications may or may not perform.

Texas-based Information Protection and Authentication of Texas (IPAT), the owner of the patents, and Florida-based Global Innovation Technology Holdings (GITH), their exclusive licensee, jointly filed the 12-page formal complaint last Thursday in a south Florida district court.

At issue is US patent No. 5,311,591, titled "Computer system security method and apparatus for creating and using program authorization information data structures," filed in 1992 and granted two years later, and US patent No. 5,412,717, its continuation granted in 1995.

Both filings detail an operating system design that includes a system monitor which limits the ability of a program about to be executed to the use of predefined resources such as data files and disk writing capabilities. The system monitor builds a data structure including a set of authorities defining that which a program is permitted to or precluded from doing.

Once defined, these sets of restrictions called program authorization information (or "PAIs"), are associated with each program to be executed to thereby delineate the types of resources and functions that the program is allowed to utilize. The PAI associated with a particular program may be assigned by a computer system owner/user or by someone who the computer system owner/user implicitly trusts.

"The program is permitted to access what has been authorized and nothing else. In this fashion, the program may be regarded as being placed in a program capability limiting 'safety box,'" the filings state. "This 'safety box' is thereafter associated with the program such that whenever the system monitor runs the program, the PAI for that program is likewise loaded and monitored. [...] If the program attempts to do anything outside the authorized limits, then the program execution is halted."

In its suit Thursday, IPAT and GITH broadly allege that Apple "has infringed or continues to infringe on one or more of the claims" of the two patents "by making, using, providing, offering to sell, and selling [...] hardware and/or software for protecting and/or authenticating information."

"Upon information and belief, Apple has also contributed to the infringement of one or more claims" of the two patents "and/or actively induced others to infringe on one or more claims" of the two filings, the complaint adds.

The two firms repeat the accusations, in whole or in part, against 11 other PC makers, including Acer, Alienware, American Future Technology, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Motion Computing, and Panasonic.

They're seeking a trial by jury and asking the court to award an injunction, damages, and attorneys fees.

The latest suit arrives on the heels of a complaint lodged earlier this month by IPAT and GITH that made similar accusations against a group of software makers regarding the same patents. Named in that suit were Microsoft, Symantec, F-Secure, Novell, AVG Technologies and PC Tools.
post #2 of 40
Why doesn't Apple just have an office, where folks can go in, and ask for a bunch of money, and avoid all of these lawsuits.

A person or company goes in, sits down, and explains their case, and asks for X number of dollars. Apple could fund this with the Cash they have on-hand and this would free up Apple and our courts for more trying issues.

Skip

PS Of course this WILL be a revolving door …
post #3 of 40
And in other news:

DaveGee has announced a lawsuit against every bar and hotel franchise as well as beverage companies of all kinds, for the blatant disregard of his patent that covers the use of transparent, semi-transparent and opaque cylindrical containers for the express use of containment, transportation, distribution and or consumption of liquids.

Major companies named include, Coke, Pepsi , Anheuser Bush & Coors.
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
Reply
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
Reply
post #4 of 40
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #5 of 40
So what is this referring to?

Unix permissions? These are way older than this patent.
Access Control Lists? Again these aren't anything new.

Something else?

Just sounds like another overly generic software/system/concept patent. Like patenting the concept of an "engine" rather than a specific implementation. Ideas and concepts are worthless unless you can make something of it, something patentable.
post #6 of 40
This reminds me of the Onion article about Microsoft patenting zeros and ones.

It will knock the computing world arse over teakettle if Microsoft ever decided to sue the rest of the industry for using their zeros and ones. Apple avoided some heat by calling their operating system "OS X" instead of "OS 10", and Adobe avoided some entanglements by jumping to the "CS" train instead of going with Adobe Photoshop 10, etc.

Get ready for Base 8 programing.
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple is among a dozen systems builders being sued this month for infringing on a pair of patents that cover system-wide software permissions for defining the range of operations that computer applications may or may not perform.

I'm no patent lawyer, but this sounds like another case of "I patented something vague,
and now I'm looking to cash in."

The US Patent System is clearly broken.

When will a lawsuit surface that claims someone patented "a method for processing
ones and zeroes", and they want to sue every software and hardware maker that
has ever existed?
Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
Reply
Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
Reply
post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

Why doesn't Apple just have an office, where folks can go in, and ask for a bunch of money, and avoid all of these lawsuits.

A person or company goes in, sits down, and explains their case, and asks for X number of dollars. Apple could fund this with the Cash they have on-hand and this would free up Apple and our courts for more trying issues.

Skip

PS Of course this WILL be a revolving door

But then how would the lawyers get paid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

So what is this referring to?

Unix permissions? These are way older than this patent.
Access Control Lists? Again these aren't anything new.

Something else?

Just sounds like another overly generic software/system/concept patent. Like patenting the concept of an "engine" rather than a specific implementation. Ideas and concepts are worthless unless you can make something of it, something patentable.

I haven't read the patent, and only skimmed the article (there's too many of these to read them all), but it sort of sounded like the technique of "sandboxing" applications to only allow them to play in their memory space.
post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

I haven't read the patent, and only skimmed the article (there's too many of these to read them all), but it sort of sounded like the technique of "sandboxing" applications to only allow them to play in their memory space.

You can't patent an idea... only a specific implementation of that idea.

Besides, sounds like patent squatting... the "exclusive licensee" sounds like a holding company to me. I can't find any official web site for them, and the only references to them outside this story is that GITH appears on penny-stock spam.
post #10 of 40
On one side you have all the well-known computer hardware/software companies, on the other side, a couple of names we've NEVER heard about in the computer industry. Yep, sounds like couple of patent squatting companies.
post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post

On one side you have all the well-known computer hardware/software companies, on the other side, a couple of names we've NEVER heard about in the computer industry. Yep, sounds like couple of patent squatting companies.

And each of the two companies is from the two most corrupt states in the union, each one a veritable fountain of patent abuse and shady activity.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

Just sounds like another overly generic software/system/concept patent. Like patenting the concept of an "engine" rather than a specific implementation.

agreed. I couldn't figure out how what was described was the same as Apple's system prefs at all.

and while once upon a time you could patent an idea without implementation, these days in the computer world you can't. because there are only so many ways you can achieve the same goals so HOW you do it is what is unique. And that's what they will give the patent for.

my bigger question is this. wouldn't Apple and these other companies have applied for patents themselves. and when they did wouldn't theirs be reviewed before approval to make sure there was no possibly infringement.

or at the least isn't that review what legal departments are for.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post

On one side you have all the well-known computer hardware/software companies, on the other side, a couple of names we've NEVER heard about in the computer industry. Yep, sounds like couple of patent squatting companies.

Exactly my thoughts when I heard about this!

________________
iPhone, iPod
Reply
iPhone, iPod
Reply
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

I haven't read the patent, and only skimmed the article (there's too many of these to read them all), but it sort of sounded like the technique of "sandboxing" applications to only allow them to play in their memory space.

But the concept of each program in a multitasking microcomputer running in its own distinct memory space, with each program's memory space invisible and untouchable by each other program, is an idea that dates back at least as far as the design of the i386 microprocessor in 1986. Certainly it was common practise in minicomputers and mainframes even before that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna

wouldn't Apple and these other companies have applied for patents themselves.

For any operating system that makes use of memory protection in an i386-derived processor, it doesn't matter how you shuffle the cards, it all distills back to the same mechanism.
post #15 of 40
Wouldn't the world be great where Lawyears could ONLY charge money if they win? How many frivilous lawsuits would never be started in the first place if that was the case?

This patent is WAY too generic. Unix permissions have been around for over 30 years. Give me a break.

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

Reply

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

Reply
post #16 of 40
Isn't this just another term for sandboxing your apps, something the OS should do anyways?

Unless they have specific code that was copyrighted and used by these companies this sounds pretty meaningless. Hopefully this company will be forced to pay any court costs and value of time lost by all of these companies attributed to what seems to be such a petty case.
post #17 of 40
This sounds very much like a sandbox, and that idea has been around for a while. When was the idea conceived is hard to say, but the nearest historical ancestor would be the virtual machine and this was used by Smalltalk back in the 1970s.
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

Wouldn't the world be great where Lawyears could ONLY charge money if they win? How many frivilous lawsuits would never be started in the first place if that was the case?

Wouldn't the world be great if certain people forced their governments to fix broken patent systems?
Don't blame the lawyers. Well, don't only blame the lawyers. They're only acting because someone wants to cash in on a broken patent system.
post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherBrain View Post

Isn't this just another term for sandboxing your apps, something the OS should do anyways?

Unless they have specific code that was copyrighted and used by these companies this sounds pretty meaningless.

Ah, but if it was a case of verbatim copying of an implementation in source code, then it would be litigated as a copyright violation. This is being litigated as patent infringement.
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

So what is this referring to?

Unix permissions? These are way older than this patent.
Access Control Lists? Again these aren't anything new.

Something else?

Just sounds like another overly generic software/system/concept patent. Like patenting the concept of an "engine" rather than a specific implementation. Ideas and concepts are worthless unless you can make something of it, something patentable.

Reading the patent claims, it sounds more like Keychain than anything else.

Quote:
1. [...] means for storing a plurality of digital authorization entries in said memory means, wherein said entries qualify operations which an associated program is permitted to perform when executed by said processing means; and

means for storing in at least one segment, digital data for associating said authorization entries with at least one program.

There are also tons of individual claims about various things that can be protected. (Bank accounts, transaction limits, etc.) It looks like a shotgun patent where they hope some number of claims will stick. Other claims seem like there's pretty obvious prior art. I'm not sure how patent applications were handled in 1992, but when my previous company filed patents on things I'd done, I had to sign a form stating that, as far as I was aware, my invention was original.
post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by PACraddock View Post

Wouldn't the world be great if certain people forced their governments to fix broken patent systems?
Don't blame the lawyers. Well, don't only blame the lawyers. They're only acting because someone wants to cash in on a broken patent system.

Yah the gov should fix this too. But I wasn't just talking about ONLY patent cases... I was talking about ALL cases. Frivolous civil lawsuits are very common... and they need to be stopped. I don't see the Gov fixing that one. You know a lawyer would think twice about picking up a case if he didn't think it could be won. Only the real cases would be brought up in court. It would save tax payers money and keep lawyers honest.

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

Reply

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

Reply
post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post

You can't patent an idea... only a specific implementation of that idea.

Besides, sounds like patent squatting... the "exclusive licensee" sounds like a holding company to me. I can't find any official web site for them, and the only references to them outside this story is that GITH appears on penny-stock spam.

On top of that, the patent is 13 years old, coming up on expiration...does this then qualify as a submarine patent?
post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafe View Post

The US Patent System is clearly broken.

Indeed. One possible reform would be to establish severe civil and criminal penalties for applying for any patent where prior art is known to or should reasonably have been known to the applicant.
Mac user since August 1983.
Reply
Mac user since August 1983.
Reply
post #24 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

Frivolous civil lawsuits are very common... and they need to be stopped. [] It would save tax payers money and keep lawyers honest.

And thus justice would completely fall off the map. I happen to be a law student, and happen to know from experience and hearsay that a great number of cases are hard to win despite defending the greater part of the truth. Justice would dictate that you win. But there's a good chance you might not.
The system you are suggesting would lead to justice disappearing, because cases where you will not necessarily win would not be taken on by lawyers. Unless you're a big corporation or a rich person who guarantees the lawyer that he or she will be paid no matter what, despite the law.
post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

Wouldn't the world be great where Lawyears could ONLY charge money if they win? How many frivilous lawsuits would never be started in the first place if that was the case?.

In 1970, Frank Herbert published a novel called "Whipping Star". In it, we are introduced to an alien race (the Gowachin) with a legal system where the losing lawyer AND his client are immediately killed after the verdict goes against them. Consequently, there are very few frivolous lawsuits in the Gowachin legal courts.

Again, Frank Herbert was ahead of his time!
post #26 of 40
From Mac OS 7.5.5 and 1991.
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

Wouldn't the world be great where Lawyears could ONLY charge money if they win? How many frivilous lawsuits would never be started in the first place if that was the case?

Actually that is how it usually works. They work on contingency. What I would prefer is that if the plaintiff loses, they pay the attorney fees of the defendant.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

Wouldn't the world be great where Lawyears could ONLY charge money if they win? ...

Isn't that how contingency works in the US?
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Actually that is how it usually works. They work on contingency. What I would prefer is that if the plaintiff loses, they pay the attorney fees of the defendant.

That could possibly work as well.

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

Reply

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

Reply
post #30 of 40
As has been mentioned in other posts, permissions and access control are concepts which have been around since the dawn of computer technology.

What do these people do, pick up a computing science textbook and try to patent all of the ideas therein which haven't been patented before?
 
Reply
 
Reply
post #31 of 40
Quite possibly... if not, it OBVIOUSLY isn't a bad idea.

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

Reply

 

 

Quote:
The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

Reply
post #32 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

As has been mentioned in other posts, permissions and access control are concepts which have been around since the dawn of computer technology.

What do these people do, pick up a computing science textbook and try to patent all of the ideas therein which haven't been patented before?

I'd like to know why the patent granting bodies allow vague concepts and don't reject applications with clear prior art.

Maybe the ones we read about are the few that slip through the cracks, but sometimes it looks like the crack is as wide as the Grand Canyon.
post #33 of 40
Too obvious an idea since the job of an OS is to manage and protect its resources. Pathetic patent office let anything through.

Someone should file a patent on the patenting process and put them all out of business.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply
post #34 of 40
"...system-wide software permissions for defining the range of operations that computer applications may or may not perform..."

Ha Ha.

People at Microsoft are slapping their heads and saying: D'Oh!

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply
post #35 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The two firms repeat the accusations, in whole or in part, against 11 other PC makers, including Acer, Alienware, American Future Technology, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Lenovo

Why are they suing hardware manufacturers if this is a software/OS interaction patent. You might as well sue the toaster manufacturer because someone stole your bread recipe.
post #36 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

Someone should file a patent on the patenting process and put them all out of business.

Oh no... recursive patents! Opens up a new dimension in lawsuits.

 
Reply
 
Reply
post #37 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mactoid View Post

In 1970, Frank Herbert published a novel called "Whipping Star". In it, we are introduced to an alien race (the Gowachin) with a legal system where the losing lawyer AND his client are immediately killed after the verdict goes against them. Consequently, there are very few frivolous lawsuits in the Gowachin legal courts.

Again, Frank Herbert was ahead of his time!

I really liked that book. If I remember correctly, the judge, prosecutor and even the spectators could all or individually be found guilty and executed on the spot. I keep coming back to this book whenever the legal system shows us how much of an ass it can be.
What goes online stays online. What is online will become public.
Reply
What goes online stays online. What is online will become public.
Reply
post #38 of 40
i just patented the act of filing a patent and it takes effect today. retroactively.
i'm gonna be so rich.
post #39 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

But the concept of each program in a multitasking microcomputer running in its own distinct memory space, with each program's memory space invisible and untouchable by each other program, is an idea that dates back at least as far as the design of the i386 microprocessor in 1986. Certainly it was common practise in minicomputers and mainframes even before that.

That was one of the key features of the VAX-11 series that distinguished it from its predecessor, the PDP-11.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

For any operating system that makes use of memory protection in an i386-derived processor, it doesn't matter how you shuffle the cards, it all distills back to the same mechanism.

I don't think this patents is about protected memory. The summary presented here sounds more like restricting which OS-level APIs can be executed on a per-app basis. It sounds a lot like Java's sandboxing, parental controls and filtering network proxies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

What I would prefer is that if the plaintiff loses, they pay the attorney fees of the defendant.

While I agree that it would greatly cut down on frivolous suits, it can also end up stifling perfectly reasonable suits. If you have a completely legitimate suit against a corporation, they could throw a million dollars worth of lawyers at you and then make you pay for them all when you lose because your single lawyer isn't as good as the 50-person team he went up against.
post #40 of 40
Another patent troll company!. They will loose big time. Lots of "prior art" can be proven way before 1992. It takes one big company like MS to defeat this, if they wake up that giant.
MBP 2.4UB 500HD , MBA Gen1 1.6/80HD MB 2.2SR 250HD PB 1.67 160HD iPhones Gen1 8G4G
Reply
MBP 2.4UB 500HD , MBA Gen1 1.6/80HD MB 2.2SR 250HD PB 1.67 160HD iPhones Gen1 8G4G
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Mac OS X
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac OS X › Apple among PC makers sued over OS permissions tech