W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > April 2002

Re: Pseudo-Patent-Free Microsoft Standard

From: by way of Susan Lesch <phm@a2e.de>
Date: Sat, 6 Apr 2002 01:44:41 -0800
Message-Id: <p05100318b8d473d35cde@[192.168.123.158]>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
[Moderator note: This mail was sent to To:
C-FIT_Release_Community@RealMeasures.dyndns.org and Cc:
www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org, usenet@consulting.net.nz, rms@gnu.org,
patents@aful.org]

>  (Microsoft just can't cope with the idea that standards are
>  supposed to be used by everyone.  So they are hooking up
>  their patents via their license.  We simply can't turn our
>  back on them for one second.  -- Seth Johnson)
>
>  http://www.advogato.org/article/453.html

The CIFS specification seems to be based on two trivial and broad
problem patents from the early 90s which cover all communication
between 2 computers where data are directly stored from a remote
location into the data buffer of a program and the transmission
doesn't use headers.

These claims look so ludicrous that there is hope that they would not
stand a court proceding.  If you can afford litigation, the result
might well be that the court narrows down the claim scope somewhat but
yet upholds some of the subclaims.  I guess that would be enough for
MS to maintain its grip on the proprietary standard which it is
pushing onto the Net.

Here are some of the details:

US 5,265,261

filed 1993

Claims

1. A computer implemented method in a computer system for transmitting data
    from a server computer to a consumer computer connected by a virtual
    circuit, the consumer computer having an application program requesting a
    read from the server computer, having a redirector, and having a transport,
    the application program having access to a data buffer allocated by the
    application program, comprising the steps of: allocating and initializing a
    receive network control block for directing the transport to store the next
    data it receives directly in the data buffer; transmitting from the
    redirector to the transport a read request to read data from the server and
    said receive network control block for directing the transport to store the
    read data directly in the data buffer, the read request indicating that the
    read data should be transmitted without a header; in response to the step
    of transmitting, sending the read request from the transport to the server
    computer; examining and recognizing that the read request indicates that
    the read data should be transmitted without a header; storing the read data
    in a data block without the header; transferring the data block from the
    server computer to the transport in response to the step of sending the
    read request; and in response to the read request and the receive network
    control block and in response to the step of transferring, storing the data
    block directly from the transport into the data buffer.

2. The method of claim 1 that includes the step of ensuring that no requests
    to transmit data on the virtual circuit are pending before the read request
    is transmitted.

3. The method of claim 1, including the steps of: locking the data buffer
    before transmitting the read request to ensure that the data buffer remains
    accessible until the read request is satisfied; and unlocking the data
    buffer after the read data has been stored in the data buffer.


US 5,437,013

priority date 1993

very similar content and claims:

1. A computer implemented method in a computer system for transferring data on
    a network from a first computer to a second computer connected by a virtual
    circuit, the second computer having an application program, a transport
    implementing network communications and a redirector implementing a system
    message block protocol, the application program having access to a data
    buffer, the method comprising the steps of: under control of the
    redirector, initializing a network control block; and directing the
    transport of the second computer to store the data that it receives next
    directly in the data buffer pointed to by the network control block instead
    of a system message block buffer in the redirector; under control of a
    transport of the first computer, transferring the data without a system
    message block header containing information about the data from the first
    computer over the virtual circuit to the transport of the second computer;
    and under control of the transport of the second computer, and upon
    receiving the transferred data, storing the received data directly into the
    data buffer of the application program.

2. The method of claim 1, including the step of under control of the
    redirector, ensuring that no requests to transfer data from the first
    computer to the second computer are pending so that data without a system
    message block header can be transferred from the first computer to the
    second computer.

..

Unfortunately we still do not know about the EPO situation concerning
these Microsoft applications.  As usual, the US patent doesn't contain
information on a parallel EP or WO patent application.  Yet these
could very well exist.   In 1993 the EPO was already granting patents
on the most abstract mathematical methods, and of course the above
claim language looked "technical" enough for the EPO to consider it
not pertaining to a programming solution as such -- indeed it is more
a problem than a solution that is claimed.  Also, an application from
1993 would most likely have been granted around 1998 by the EPO.

For research into this, you may want to use

         http://www.depatisnet.de/
         http://www.espacenet.com/
         http://www.delphion.com/

Using a few key words from the two US applications (such as Microsoft,
"inventor"'s name, text strings from the claims etc) should get you
there.

As MS is using these swpats for its crusades against the GPL, We need
to document this stuff quickly and thouroughly, see also

         http://swpat.ffii.org/news/index.en.html#m023E

and some help would be very much appreciated.

-- 
Hartmut Pilch, FFII & Eurolinux Alliance              tel. +49-89-12789608
Protecting Innovation against Patent Inflation	     http://swpat.ffii.org/
100,000 signatures against software patents      http://www.noepatents.org/
Received on Saturday, 6 April 2002 04:44:44 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 27 April 2010 00:13:49 GMT