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iTunes/iPod under threat from US/EU software patents

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Pat-Rights, a company from Hongkong which owns patents on copy prevention mechanisms in the US and Europe, is asking for payment of 12% of the revenues of Apple's music downloading business. The schemes are patentable according to the legislative proposals of the EU Commission and Council but not according to that of the Parliament.

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Claim 1 as granted by USPTO

A method for protecting publicly distributed software from unauthorised use, comprising the steps of:

Claim 1 as pending at EPO

Authorising software used on a computing device to protect other software by discouraging a rightful or an authorised user thereof from enabling or allowing other person(s) to use said software desired to be protected or a duplication copy thereof; said authorising software being for, when executed,

  1. determining existence of identity software in memory means accessible to said computing device;
  2. using a favour result of said determination as a precondition for permitting use of said software desired to be protected on said computing device;
    • said identity software being used on said computing device to provide information specified to said user;
    • said information being essentially used, on said computing device, in enabling of operation(s) for which said user has to be responsible;
    • and said determination of existence is being made without causing a said operation being performed.

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