Feeds

Gateway in ‘preference file’ patent puzzle

Robot Unwisdom

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Proof that the US Department of Commerce employs robots to research patent applications finally emerged this week.

On Monday, Gateway was granted a Patent that covers the handling and merging of users' preference files. Patent 6,530,083 is pretty broad ranging, encompassing "convergent television/computer systems as well as television systems, audio systems, video systems, or the like" as well as PCs, and not only snares well know .INI file or registry settings but cookies too.

So is this another "mad patent" story that you're getting kind of weary of now? (We've had Microsoft and Apple in recent days).

Not quite.

What's really interesting about this patent, which was filed in 1998, is how it ever got granted. The patent cites one previous example of prior art, here which also discusses "profiles".

Only they're not user preference profiles at all, but application execution "profiles" and the two have nothing in common whatsoever. Execution profiles are an application's "footprint": what resources it's using and when. The patent cited here as prior art discusses debugging techniques.

Which provides proof of AI intervention. A diligent human researcher would have discovered the debug patent discussing "profiles" and rejected it, or at least excluded it from the list of Prior Art. But the USPTO didn't.

Some believe all patents are inherently evil, while many others accept them as a commercial necessity that protects an inventor for a limited time. If that's the case, then the only conclusion is that the US Department of Commerce urgently needs to spend more money on better staff to maintain the integrity of the patent system. It needs to and fast, for the system appears to have fallen into irretrievable disrepute. If you believe that inventions may be commercialized, you need to pay for a credible regulator. ®

Related Stories

Apple thanks Microsoft for creating the Trash Can
Apple v MS lawsuit to walk again in Lindows.com trial
MS patents .Everything

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.