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TBTF for 1995-08-30: Software patent claimed for selling online

Keith Dawson (dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com)
Wed, 30 Aug 1995 05:59:38 -0400

Threads Software patents
See also TBTF for
2000-03-31, 1999-08-30, 06-14, 02-15, 01-26, 01-13, 1998-12-15, 08-31, 05-18, 05-11, 04-27, more...
>>From Weekly Recap (1995-08-27):

Interactive Gift Express Inc. (IGE) announced that it has filed suit

  Adobe Systems Inc.           Kidsoft Inc.
  Apogee Software Ltd.         The Library Corp.
  Broderbund Software Inc.     The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.
  CompuServe Inc.              Soft & Net Distribution S.A.
  CyberSource Corp.            Softlock Inc.
  First Virtual Holdings Inc.  Telebase Systems Inc.
  Intermind Corp.              Vocatec Inc.
  Internet Software Inc.       Waldenbooks
  Intuit Inc.                  Ziff Communications Co.

The suit alleges that the 18 defendants have infringed the Freeny system
and method patent (US Patent No. 4,528,643), entitled "System for Repro-
ducing Information In Material Objects At A Point of Sale Location."
IGE says the patent, granted in 1985, covers certain types of POS trans-
actions commonly used on the Internet and by online services as well
ascertain types of sales using CD-ROM.

[The claim is that this patent covers software sold and delivered over
the Internet. I found no discussions yet of this patent claim on the
usual Usenet sites. IGE licensed the patent from the inventor, Charles
Freeny, in 1994. In all IGE sent notices of infringement to 120 compan-
ies but only filed suit against 18 of them. (The Wall Street Journal
says there are 21 defendents but does not list them all.) The 1985 date
on the patent is interesting: the infrastructure was not in place to
support the kind of commerce described by the patent. How did Freeny
show a working prototype?]

>>From Edupage (1995-08-27):

A new convenience included in Microsoft Network e-mail processing could
present a loophole for invading computer viruses, warn some security
experts. When an MSN user sends a binary file as part of an e-mail
message, it appears as an icon on the recipient's screen. When the
recipient double-clicks on it, it's automatically downloaded and ex-
ecuted. To download without executing the file, the recipient must
click with the little-used button on the right of the mouse. "On the
Microsoft Network, I can disguise an icon so that it looks innocuous,"
says the VP and chief technical officer for Interactive Data Corp. "The
analogy I like to use is the Unabomber. If you get a package in the mail
that's wrapped in duct tape and brown paper, you'd regard it as suspic-
icious. But if it's a plain white envelope with Ed McMahon's picture
on it, you wouldn't think twice about opening it." Microsoft responds
that "There are risks of getting data off the network in any form.
People have to be aware of what the source of information is." (Infor-
mation Week 28 Aug 95 p24)

[Have to admit I've been worried about a Mac flavor of this scenario for
some while now. Say I read on some newsgroup about a nifty Mac net toy.
I hoover it down to my desktop with Anarchie, which fires up Stuffit Ex-
pander, which renders .hqx to .sit, .sit to .sea, and then runs the self-
extracting archive. Surprise: it's a disk-killer virus.

[The InterNIC name and domain registry provides some protection against
this Web-distribution scenario: the perp couldn't stay completely anony-
mous. The MSN email security hole cited above is worse. Sending email
anonymously is easy. The only real protection is an antivirus program
that looks at each new file hitting the disk, before it has a chance to

[And finally, here's balm for those suffering withdrawal from the Windows
95 hype onslaught.]

>>From Netsurfer Digest (1995-08-24):


You've been hyped enough, so we won't slap you around with any more
snappy lines, witty asides, or caustic remarks. Here are the crucial
sites. The Microsoft Win95 Site has free software, compatability info,
and the usual support materials. "Report From an OS/2 Devotee" is a PC
World cover story with an IBMish perspective. Try the "Unofficial
Windows 95 Software Archive" for free and shareware goodies. Finally,
are there Subliminal Messages in Windows 95? Bob Loblaw takes you on
a twisted tour of the best ones. Now you can sleep at night, knowing
you have the links that matter.

Microsoft Win95 Site: <http://www.microsoft.com/Windows/>
OS/2 Article: <http://www.pcworld.com/features/coverstory/cover1f.html>
Windows 95 Software Archive: <http://WWW.NetEx.NET:80/w95/windows95/>
Subliminal Messages: <http://tcp.ca/gsb/PC/Win95-subliminals.html>


>>Weekly Recap -- mail majordomo@case.wsgr.com without subject
and with message: subscribe multimedia-list .

>>Edupage -- mail listproc@educom.edu without subject
and with message: subscribe edupage <your name> .

>>NetSurfer Digest -- mail nsdigest-request@netsurf.com without subject
and with message: subscribe nsdigest-html /or/ subscribe nsdigest-text

TBTF alerts you twice a week to bellwethers in computer and communications
technology, with special attention to commerce on the Internet. See the
archive at <http://www.tbtf.com/>. To subscribe send the
message "subscribe" to tbtf-request@world.std.com.
Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com dawson@atria.com
Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.


Copyright © 1994-2023 by Keith Dawson. Commercial use prohibited. May be excerpted, mailed, posted, or linked for non-commercial purposes.