Posts Software Installation/Update via Internet Patented (SlashDot) - Ummm... wrong!
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Software Installation/Update via Internet Patented (SlashDot) - Ummm... wrong!

It's this kind of crap that causes confusion in technology.  This was posted to slashdot.org:

RKBA writes "My wife just handed me an article from the Wednesday, October 22, 2003 issue of the Wall Street Journal about a tiny Austin, TX company called Bluecurrent that has been awarded patent No. 6,636,857 covering the Internet installation of any software or settings on new computers. The patent was granted by the USPTO on October 21, 2003. It will be interesting to see if it can be enforced. I think it's time for someone to file a patent on Earth, Fire, and Water. </wbr>;-)"

However, reading the abstract from the actual patent:

The method and system of the present invention provides an improved technique for replacing, implementing and managing computer-related assets. A technician accesses the World Wide Web through a user's computer. The information resident on the computer, including information regarding the computer and the user's preferences, are downloaded to a remote storage medium through the World Wide Web. Once downloaded, all information may be removed from the user's computer. Subsequently, the technician accesses another computer such as, for example, a new computer that has been assigned to the same user. The technician accesses the World Wide Web through the new computer and downloads the information previously stored on the remote storage medium. This information can then be used to install the user's prior applications, settings and preferences on the new computer.

This doesn't describe installation or upgrading at all.  It's about packaging up user configuration and settings and storing/retrieving them from a location via the world wide web.  WAIT A MINUTE.  Why does this sound vaguely familiar.  Doesn't Windows do something like this?  Isn't this thing called 'profiles'?  OK, so it doesn't use the WWW; but does sound very similar in concept.  Did Microsoft patent user profiles?  Hmmm... I wonder...

Sure, the person who posted this expressed a little bit of cynicism; however, they could have at least gotten what was patented correct ;-)

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.