Feeds

W3C launches appeal to scupper Apple patent

All your updates are belong to Cupertino

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The W3C, custodians of web standards, have launched an appeal for prior art to contest an Apple patent that appears to cover any kind of automated updating procedure, including the Widget standard on which the group is working.

The patent, filed in 1995 and awarded in 1998, and which Apple revealed to the W3C in March, covers an application contacting a central server to see if a new version is available, and downloading the replacement if it is. As such it would appear to cover most of the automated updating systems commonly in use today, though the W3C is most concerned with the impact it's going to have on the forthcoming widget standards.

US patent number 5,764,992 is entitled "Method and apparatus for automatic software replacement" and explicitly states steps for updating software including:

  • detecting whether a version of the program is stored in the designated location;
  • determining whether a detected version of the program stored at the designated location is more recent than the current version of the program which is running;
  • replacing the current version of the program with a more recent version that is stored at the designated location; and
  • subsequently executing the more recent version of the program on the computer.

Which seems pretty comprehensive to us, and it's hard to see any reason why such a patent wouldn't also cover Windows Update, Firefox or any of the myriad of automatic-update systems in use today.

W3C isn't concerned about those, of course, the group is just trying to get a decent standard together for widgets - AJAX-powered applications cached locally but hosted remotely, which will certainly want to check for updates each time they are run. Thus the search for prior art, which is looking for anything that existed before June 1995 and could be used to remotely update a widget, or invalidate Apple's patent. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?