Possible prior art on excluded Patent 5,764,992

Widgets Updates PAG

This page is a collection of statements and findings around prior art on the patent 5,764,992 as disclosed by Apple Inc.: Method and apparatus for automatic software replacement

What is the goal of this page?

Apple Inc. participates in the Web Application Working Group. In application of the exclusion rights given by the W3C Patent Policy, Apple excluded Patent Nr. 5,764,992 from its Royalty Free commitment given to participate in the Working Group. The exclusion triggered a Patent Advisory Group (PAG). The PAG is using this page to collect prior art and to collect information on how the widget updates specification circumvent the excluded patent.

Does Apple participate in the PAG?

Apple Inc. is a necessary Participant in the Patent Advisory Group along with all AC Reps of all the Participants of the Web Applications Working Group. While the W3C Patent Policy has the goal to ensure that W3C Specifications are implementable on a Royalty Free basis, it also protects valuable assets of W3C Members participating in Specification work by allowing them to opt out of the RF commitments.

Does Work on the Widget Updates Specification have to stop now?

No. The work on the Widget Updates Specification can continue in parallel to the Patent Advisory Group. Nevertheless, Widget Updates will not be able to enter the status of Proposed Recommendation as long as the PAG is running.

Hints to Prior Art received from the call for prior art

  1. 1978: Self updating firmware in Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) in industrial controls
  2. 1980: C64 programmer used this technic to REPLACE running code and complete program parts with a new implementation.
  3. 1982: The MACSYMA computer algebra program at MIT on PDP-10
  4. 1988: The TC 500 system
  5. 1989: The CERN OPAL System prior to the Web
  6. it is unclear whether HEAD requests were already there
  7. 1991: The HTTP Protocol and Browsers, but
  8. 1994: IRIX rqsall, present in IRIX 5.3 of 1994, similar to the linux packaging
  9. 1994: The HotJava Browser
  10. 1994: Automated sequence analysis system for biological DNA and protein sequences
  11. Suggestion to find HTML pages with scripting prior to 1995

Prior art identified in the patent:

  1. 5,019,963: Data processing network with upgrading of files
    Expired: March 21, 2008
  2. Kirouac 5,155,847: Method and apparatus for updating software at remote locations
    Minicom Data Corporation
    Expired: August 8, 2008
    invoked by the Examiner in his initial rejection of the patent
  3. 5,247,683: System and method for installing software and updating configuration files
    Expires: June 19, 2011
  4. Halliwell, 5,473,772: Automatic update of static and dynamic files at a remote network node in response to calls issued by or for application programs
    Expires: September 2, 2013
    invoked by the Examiner in his initial rejection of the patent
  5. 5,564,051: Automatic update of static and dynamic files at a remote network node in response to calls issued by or for application programs
    Expires: June 7, 2015
  6. 5,608,901: Method and system for improving the contiguity of sectors of a file
    Expires: September 1, 2014

Claim 1:

  1. Claim 1 talks about a current version in memory, that means that only if the widget updates itself, the patent is violated. If the update is done by an external program or another widget, the patent wouldn't be touched.

General ideas for prior art:

  1. The linux packaging system from 1992
  2. Virus software updating itself
  3. Worms updating themselves, see the timeline of computer viruses and worms in Wikipedia
  4. Anti-virus software updating the list of recognized viruses
  5. CMU Andrew system: An article reported that it was updating software from a server side.
  6. TrapMan, a Windows debugging tool, see also article from 1995 may be relevant wrt self-modifying code that allows only one instance of itself to run at any one time.

The Widgets Updates Patent Advisory Group is chartered to study issues and propose solutions related to a patent disclosure from Apple, Inc., concerning the Widgets 1.0: Updates Working Draft.

PAG -Chair is Rigo Wenning (W3C). The W3C Staff Contacts for the Widgets Updates PAG are Doug Schepers and Michael(tm) Smith.

Contact: Rigo Wenning (rigo at w3.org); Doug Schepers (schepers at w3.org); Michael(tm) Smith (mike at w3.org)

Last update: $Id: prior-art.html,v 1.9 2009/07/02 10:19:34 rigo Exp $