UK firm claims patents on Internet downloading

UK firm claims patents on Internet downloading

Summary: Automatic software-downloading and virus-updating applications could be covered by patents controlled by the British Technology Group

TOPICS: Government UK
A UK company claims to own a number of patents that relate to the process of downloading software and virus-protection updates over the Internet.

British Technology Group (BTG) said on Monday that it is in discussions with several companies, reportedly including Microsoft, in the hope of getting them to pay royalties.

"We have various patents that cover various ways of downloading software updates over the Web, including virus fixes and product enhancements. These cover products that are in widespread use today," a BTG spokesman said.

BTG is seeking both down-payments and future royalties from "a number of companies" which it claims have already produced products that infringe its patents. But at the time of writing the company has not divulged details of the patents in question.

BTG, which represents inventors and patent owners who want to protect and enforce their patents, won't reveal which companies it is in negotiations with. Its patents potentially cover some of the free virus update services that are available, which could become unviable to operate if royalties had to be paid to BTG.

BTG, though, played down the suggestion that computer users could be at risk because of its actions.

"I can't think of any time that BTG has brought an injunction to take a product that is on the market off the market," said the company spokesman.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Microsoft is one of the companies being pursued by BTG.

A Microsoft spokeswoman, though, wasn't immediately able to comment on the issue, saying that it "wasn't anything that she'd seen information on".

Topic: Government UK

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  • It would be very helpful to have application numbers of the patents mentioned in the article. Unfortunatelly I can not find them here:

    nor here:

    Best regards,

    Erik Josefsson
  • Hey wait, I have a patent on the internet. I should go after everyone that uses it. I'm going to be rich, rich, rich!!!

    Get a clue!!!
  • Its stupid that technology firms can look to their records and then claim patent to anything which resembles something similar to past creations regardless of how independant the innovation was.
  • This is funny as H*** as most of the protocals and original updating like those described we were doing back in the early 80's here in the states for people like McAffee at one of the software comapnies I used to work for.

    True some of it is newer technologynow, but even though Microsoft does and has been known to rip off other peoples technologies, the UK people did not invent most of the technology to do this. They may hold some patents but they probably still have a long fight ahead of them trying to purse it unless they have documentation that superceeds others.

    Did they do resaerch against the US patent office or other government pattent offices before they issued their patents?
  • With the greatest respect to you posters commenting on patents, why not go find out what is involved when registering a patent. It ain't easy.
    1) You have to prove invention, it is not assumed.
    2) Patents cover regions and in this case it is a US patent IE it is completely irrelevant whetherthe company with the patent is from the UK or from the Izbekistan! The Patent was issued by the US to cover the US. So if anyone missed something it would have been the US patent office!
    3) A registration agent is used to file for patents (normally) since the wording and process is time consuming and is usually complex with this type of technology.
  • Regarding BTG's patent claim!,694,546;6,594,692;6,125,388;6,658,464;6,611,862;6,557,054

    In 1996/97 i created a software called DVC (Direct Version Check) for the Amiga computer platform called that allowed automativ downloading of updates for a software or the OS system files etc.
    The first pblic version of this software was released to Aminet
    (link might be a tad slow)
    v2.0 was released on 6 March 1997.
    (look in DVD.Guide (textfile) for version history)
    Unfortunetly I can't see a date in my old docs on when v1.0 was released, it vould most liely have been in the last months of 1996 tough.

    DVC had a lot of advanced functionality,
    including not just upating but also launching a custom installer script etc etc.

    I found it amusing later on when I saw Microsoft doing their Windows Update.

    Sadly DVC development ended soon after 28 December 1997 (v2.6 last public release)
    Altough recently I decided to pick up the concept again and make EmSai Updater
    (will be released later this year hopefully)
    It won't be a replacement for Windows Update but will be a nice alternative/option
    for individual programs etc. actual Updater program will be free for the public btw.
    (should be available at then)

    I'm currently tonight working on the EmSai Updater and refencing my old material for DVC on the Amiga platform and suddenly recalled this article. and BTG's claim made me laugh, and for fun I checked out the patent dates. (url at top of this post) where the earliest date is Dec 02, 1997. and the rest is 2000 and 2003.

    As far as I know you can not patent technology/methods/concepts/ideas/etc. that has been existing prior.
    In al fairness it seems i beat them by over a year. And not only by "idea" as that is all they seem to have patented, just the idea.
    I actualy had a functional and working implementation out for over a year before that.

    And if you look at the bottom of tat patent url
    Apr 29, 2003 you see something that just spot o describes what DVC did back around the end of 1996/start of 1997. That claim is over 6 years AFTER I had a functional product released to the public. So that one is pretty damn sure invalid thanks to me and Microsoft and Virus Killer programmers should be able to sleep easily *laughs*.

    Roger H