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InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:24 AM EST

We have another request to Pick Your Brains regarding prior art.

This time it comes from a company called InterSystems, which is a software company located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They've been targeted by a patent infringement lawsuit, along with the world and its dog. In Texas, naturally, despite the plaintiff, JuxtaComm, being located in Canada.

Let me tell you a little bit about the patent and I'll show you the request. JuxtaComm shows their patents on their home page, and here's the one in this litigation, SYSTEM FOR TRANSFORMING AND EXCHANGING DATA BETWEEN DISTRIBUTED HETEROGENEOUS COMPUTER SYSTEMS and they have a link so you can view it at the USPTO. I know. The title alone fairly screams obviousness, doesn't it? If anyone knows of any prior art before June of 1997, could you tell us about it?

If you'd like to see the court filings, here is a bit of it, all PDFs:

Here's a paragraph from the complaint:

26. Each of the Defendants has infringed and continues to infringe the '662 Patent, either directly or by contributory infringement or inducement of other to infringe. The infringing acts include, but are not limited to, the manufacture, use, sale, importation, and/or offer for sale of products and/or services related to the transformation and exchange of data between computer systems. Each of the Defendants is liable for infringement of the '662 Patent pursuant to 35 U.S.C. Section 271.

Unreal, no? Anyone transforming and exchanging data between computer systems is infringing, so they claim. Can you imagine if this patent isn't knocked out?

You will notice that JuxtaComm is suing a lot of companies, big and small, including Microsoft and IBM, not just InterSystems. So they want the market, I guess. Or, more accurately, they want money from the market. Intersystems has no patents, so there is no nuclear counterclaim option. The plaintiff went after Oracle already, and Oracle settled in February. You can read all about that here:

The JuxtaComm are a subsidiary of Teilhard Technologies, a 10+ year old company that reinvented itself from a software firm to a patent revenue firm. This new direction was started in 2004 and saw losses in 2004 and 2005, made 2006 almost a break even year and should see a profit in 2007.

A figure of $138 billion was mentioned to shareholders at the Teilhard AGM this year and leaked out through a deleted shareholder forum - see this Google cache page. This figure was based on 7% of the past revenues of the vendors being sued. At an AGM two years ago the figure of $5-7 billion was mentioned as possible ETL infringement revenue.

When Tielhard first announced the patent they valued the EAI market at $70 billion in annual revenue and they are looking at getting a chunk of this through licensing ETL and EAI functionality.

If you read the whole article, which is very well researched, you'll find that the key vulnerability here is obviousness. But you knew that already just from the title of the patent. But in court, you have to prove things, not just laugh at them. So if you know of any prior art, including things that would make this patent an obvious next step, do sing out. The big guys may just settle rather than fight. Oracle settled for only $2 million, which is much cheaper than a jury trial, but InterSystems is willing to stand and fight, I gather, so as to invalidate the patent once and for all.

Here's the request from InterSystems:

Any help from the Groklaw community tracking down prior art (before June 1997) would be greatly appreciated. There's got to be prior art on this patent. Note that prior art on top of which this patent becomes more obvious is also useful. The patent is being used to sue all vendors with products in the ETL space. The patent is: #6,195,662. The key claim is:
1. A distribution system for transforming and exchanging data between heterogeneous computer systems, comprising:
a) a systems interface for defining logical import and export data interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;
b) a metadata database for storing said logical import and export data interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;
c) a script processor for utilizing metadata from the metadata database to control data transformation within said systems interface and movement of said data into and out of said distribution system; and
d) a rule set processor responsive to said script processor for manipulating a data bag for storing imported data and a data bag for storing export data.

The good thing is, we have a date certain. We are looking for anything *before* June of 1997. Anyone got anything? Remember that the five kinds of prior art are:

1. Prior invention (mp3)

2. Accessible for more than a year (mp3)

3. Prior application (mp3)

4. Obviousness (mp3)

5. Double Patenting (mp3).

Those are edited snips from a longer version, Finding Prior Art, by Dan Ravicher, Ex. Dir. of PubPat Foundation, and the audio is available there as Ogg. There are slides too that go with the audio, so you can't miss if you view the slides as you are listening to the audio.


  


InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art | 372 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:29 AM EST
Please put the nature of the error in the title

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:30 AM EST
This sounds like TCP/IP to me, and that dates back to 1981 for both TCP and IP.
From the IETF and http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/std/std-index.html :

[code]0005 Internet Protocol. J. Postel. September 1981. (Format: TXT=241903
bytes) (Also RFC0791, RFC0792, RFC0919, RFC0922, RFC0950, RFC1112)

0006 User Datagram Protocol. J. Postel. August 1980. (Format: TXT=5896
bytes) (Also RFC0768)

0007 Transmission Control Protocol. J. Postel. September 1981.
(Format: TXT=172710 bytes) (Updated by RFC3168) (Also RFC0793)[/code]

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic here
Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:31 AM EST
please indicate your subject in the title and make those clinks lickable.

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks discussions here
Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:32 AM EST
please indicate in your title the news pick under discussion.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:37 AM EST
What we have here is not a invention but a list of standard programing
techniques there is nothing new.

1. A distribution system for transforming and exchanging data between
heterogeneous computer systems, comprising:

a) a systems interface for defining logical import and export data
interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;
b) a metadata database for storing said logical import and export data
interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;
c) a script processor for utilizing metadata from the metadata database to
control data transformation within said systems interface and movement of said
data into and out of said distribution system; and
d) a rule set processor responsive to said script processor for manipulating
a data bag for storing imported data and a data bag for storing export data.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"The Awk Programming Language"
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:40 AM EST
by A. V. Aho, B. W. Kernighan, and P. J. Weinberger
(Addison-Wesley, 1988, ISBN 0-201-07981-X).

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:42 AM EST
I know we're supposed to provide examples of Prior Art instead of just laughing
at them, but can't we both provide examples of Prior Art AND laugh at them?

As far as prior art goes, what were the computers doing when the first "in
the wild" virus came along? If I look at Wikipedia's Computer Virus
article, it speaks of viruses spreading in the 1980's using, a full decade and
more prior to the patent in question, using BBS and modems.

Could it be argued that this patent could be interpreted as describing modems?
If so, that goes back to the 1970's.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:46 AM EST
Most, if not all, of these "inventions" were used by Tivoli systems
since about 1991. The product was the "Tivoli Management
Environment"
which was sold commerically. The company was bought by IBM around 1996.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Remote Procedure Calls
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:50 AM EST

Reading the claims I am reminded of Remote Procedure Calls, i.e., RPCs.

I am pretty sure Sun's version of RPCs (currently still used in Linux, e.g. as
a base for NFS - Network File System) predates 1997. HP also had a different
version that was later used in the DCE (Distributed Computing Environment),
which also seems to be from the same time frame.


Mario de Sousa

(Long time lurker, posting for the first time...)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle Integration Server
Authored by: MDT on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:54 AM EST
This sounds a lot like Oracle Integration Server (the overview anyway). You
defined message metadata, defining what a data components went into a record of
data. Then you defined how to map those components from one message to another
(didn't matter who/what was receiving the data, heterogenous data exchange was
practically printed on every page of the docs). You defined how data got
converted between systems, and so on.

I'm sure Oracle would be a bit miffed about this, I'm surprised they didn't sue
Oracle (or did they?).

I was using this back in 2000, and Oracle had been kicking it around for a few
years. I think since 95-96 time frame.


---
MDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:56 AM EST
Seems to me what's supposed to be the invention here is using stored metadata
to drive the transformations. Seems to me that's exactly what Sybase data
pipelines did. This feature has been included in many products: PowerBuilder,
InfoMaker, Adaptive Server, & SQL Anywhere. I first used it around 1997. I
suspect it may have been shipping for a few years prior to that, but I don't
know. Anyways, check it out.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:58 AM EST
I'm not very familiar with the law, so I can't provide specifics, but IBM has a
product WebSphere MQ that has been around since prior to 1990 that sounds like
it would fit this description. It previously was called MQ Series, but was
renamed last year.

A reader from
Alpharetta, GA.

[ Reply to This | # ]

CORBA
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:00 AM EST
Sounds to me a lot like parts of CORBA would predate this patent. Anybody care to comment ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • CORBA - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:31 AM EST
    • CORBA - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:23 PM EST
      • CORBA (and DCOM) - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 02:04 AM EST
  • CORBA (and Cronus) - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 08:40 AM EST
X.12 EDI?
Authored by: rkhalloran on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:02 AM EST
X.12 for B2B electronic data interchange runs back to the mid-late 70's
(predating XML by decades); any of the software packages targeted at massaging
these for client-A-to-vendor-B traffic would almost certainly be prior art vs.
this.

Going by this patent, these trolls could conceivably be going after anyone that
ever wrote an XSLT routine; no wonder they're expecting Big Bucks...

SCOX DELENDA EST!!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Superbase
Authored by: Nick_UK on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:04 AM EST
A quick google reveals this Company:

"When, in 1989, Superbase was launched as the world's first Window's database and Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool, it set the standard for development environments. Today, Superbase Developers plc continue the tradition of producing some of the finest products and services that are crucial for the IT industry."

Superbase

Nick

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Superbase - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:31 AM EST
Sendmail and kermit
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:13 AM EST
Sendmail exemplifies the claims presented in the patent. It was created to
allow communication between heterogeneous computers and mail systems by applying
systematic transformations to email.

All the patent describes is the obvious solution to the task of transferring
information between systems which have different representation characteristics
(word length, byte sex, communication links character sets, etc)

Claim A: vi or emacs

Claim B: sendmail.cf & the Unix file system

Claim C: m4

Claim D: the sendmail executable

The patent claims to have invented what is the obvious solution to any competent
programmer given the task of transferring information between computers which
have significant differences in their internal construction.

Back when students used 3-4 systems in a 4 year degree program, none of which
used the same word length, byte order or character set, everyone had to know how
to do this.

Another good example of prior art proving obviousness is kermit.

rhb

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:14 AM EST
In the 1970's, IBM had a program that did exactly what the claims claim to be
original. I was in the group at a major utility company that was asked to
evaluate purchase (we recommended purchase, but I don't know if it ever was
bought).
Unfortunately, I have no further information on this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

CORBA
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:15 AM EST
The CORBA standard (with multiple implementations) has
a lot of the stuff in the patent except for scripts.

I would say that anything like the published spec would be hard to patent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Challenges other than Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:19 AM EST
I don't have the citation handy, but SCOTUS ruled some time ago that software per se is not patentable. The patent must express the software as the component of a concrete system or a process with a concrete product.

Seems to me that the real travesty here is not that the descibed software is obvious but that it is far too generic, bordering on the abstract algorithm that SCOTUS specifically rejected.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: JamesK on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:23 AM EST
"SYSTEM FOR TRANSFORMING AND EXCHANGING DATA BETWEEN DISTRIBUTED
HETEROGENEOUS COMPUTER SYSTEMS"

Well, hetrogeneous computer systems describes networking between networked
computers. That's old news as it's been happening for at least 40 years, that
I'm aware of (Collins 8400 computers). And is using a script to do something
news to anyone who's experienced with computers? Even many Windows users write
batch files. With file sharing and other connection methods, there's virtually
no difference between doing something locally or on a remote computer.

Maybe I should patent something like driving on the right side of the road and
start suing all those motorists who steal my idea.


---
May the source be with you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:24 AM EST
IBM's 370 utility IEBGENER

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:28 AM EST
Something like this was first brought to market in 1993 by TSI International,
which later renamed itself Mercator after its flagship product. In late 2003,
Mercator was acquired by Ascential Software and the Mercator product was renamed
Ascential DataStage TX.
Later when IBM acquired Ascential, this product was renamed as Websphere
Transformation Extender (TX).
IBM® WebSphere® Transformation Extender is a universal data transformation and
validation engine. It tackles the challenges of integrating enterprise systems
and information with a codeless, graphical approach to development.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: beowuff on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:30 AM EST
First thing I thought of was CVS with or possibly without make.

From:
http://ximbiot.com/cvs/wiki/CVS--Concurrent%20Versions%20System%20v1.12.12.1%3A%
20Overview

In April 1989, Brian Berliner designed and coded CVS.

Doesn't CVS store data for multiple types of computers and allow different types
of computers to connect? If you add "make" to that, you've got scripts
to change data. Not only does CVS have metadata which describes the layout and
data in CVS, but you can create scripts to pull the data out, change it, and
check it either back into the original or into a different repo.

With make, you can take any of the data in the CVS and change it, usually
compile it, for many different types of computers...

For make, at: http://www.gnu.org/software/make/manual/html_node/index.html#Top

Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998,
1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:33 AM EST
Good God. This sounds just like using ODBC to interchange information between
heterogenous computer systems in a SQL database. You have data transformation
(WHERE/JOIN/etc), meta data (Tabular Data Stream for Sybase/MSSQL, or the
database schema itself), import and export interfaces
(SELECT/INSERT/UPDATE/COPY), scripts with the SQL92 language, as well as various
triggers, views, and contraints.

And according to Wikipedia, it dates back to 1992.

Is there any reason why the host of ODBC technologies do NOT reflect every claim
made in this patent? I don't think I see it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Where's the (meta)databeef?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:36 AM EST
I see a bunch of citations here about inter-system transfers that involve data transformation (e.g. to overcome endian mismatches). These are not sufficient.

The patent has several parts. You can't object on the grounds that one part is obvious or had already been invented. The plaintiffs will simply claim that the composition of parts is unique and novel. Therefore, a prior art citation must include a database of some sort (could be a config file or even hard code) describing the transformation, and a process to accomplish it.

(I'm not sure what form the "bags" might take. Could it be as simple as byte buffers? Or as complex as a process on either end? In any event, in order to use the database the source and destination machines must be recognized so they process can't function in virtual space.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

IBM MQ Series (now part of Websphere)
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:40 AM EST
Would this be of any use? Choice quote:

MQ provides application designers a mechanism to achieve non-time-dependent architecture. Messages can be sent from one application to another, regardless of whether the applications are running at the same time. If a message receiver application is not running when a sender sends it a message, the queue manager will hold the message until the receiver asks for it. Ordering of all messages is preserved, by default this is in FIFO order of receipt at the local queue within priority of the message.

It provides a means for transforming data between different architectures and protocols, such as Big Endian to Little Endian, or EBCDIC to ASCII. This is accomplished through the use of message data "Exits". Exits are compiled applications which run on the queue manager host, and are executed by the WebSphere MQ software at the time data transformation is needed.

WebSphere MQ allows receipt of messages to "trigger" other applications to run, and thus provides the framework for a message driven architecture.

It implements the JMS standard API, and also has its own proprietary API, known as the Message Queuing Interface (MQI).

This quote is also of relevance:
In 1992, IBM announced a new product family called WebSphere MQ. WebSphere MQ was to be the extension of TCAM functionality from IBM-only systems to all other platforms. WebSphere MQ had an architecture which enabled heterogeneous systems to communicate with each other (e.g. IBM, HP, Sun, Tandem, etc). WebSphere MQ can be used with CICS systems to send and receive data to/from any other MQ-eligible system. WebSphere MQ can be used to initiate work in a CICS system or a CICS transaction can initiate work in another CICS or non-CICS system.

WebSphere MQ now supports 80 different environments and has become the leading message switching/routing product in the industry.

[edit]

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:46 AM EST
This functionality was common in all Data Warehousing products from the early 1990's. Here is a detailed press release giving sufficient explanation to demonstrate prior art 1 996 Press Release

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: joel hanes on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:49 AM EST
kermit seems like prior art to me. 1981. Transfers data between heterogeneous computers. Large database of the characteristics of various machines and interfaces.

---
joel hanes

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art - Business Intelligence ETL?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:59 AM EST
Let me refer you to a publication: Using GQL for Window, Macintosh and
Unix/Motif by Andyne, published June 1996.

From the Welcome to GQL page.

"Andyne GQL(Graphical Query Language) is a multi-purpose decision support
tool that gives decision makers a graphical gateway to their corporate
databases. Completely customizable, GQL lets organization choose th e mix of IT
support and user freedom that works best for them."

GQL at it's base, used SQL to access a large variety of data bases and could
export to a number of applications.

...

"For business users, GQL provides an easy-to-use, visual way of querying
databases, integrating data with other applications and generating exactly the
kinds of reports they need to turn raw data intu useful information."

Andyne's address at the time of the printing was:

Andyne Computing Limited,
552 Princess Street,
Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 1C7

Andyne was bought out by Hummingbird, and the product renamed BI Query.

Hummingbird has since been bought out by Open Text Corporation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Business Process Management
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:05 PM EST
This patent looks like the functionality of Microsoft Biztalk Server. Considering the first version is Biztalk 2000 and that Microsoft usually copies the works of others, I thought doing a little research on the precursors to Biztalk would beat the target date.

The most relevant (to this patent) function of Biztalk is Entreprise Application Integration. There is a list of vendors at the end of this article. If you click on them you will find several that predate 1997. Beside Microsoft and IBM MS Queue series we have:

Other vendors are also mentionned, but I don't find dates.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: markonhawthorne on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:19 PM EST

Prior Invention and Obviousness:

Usenet, early 1980's

uucp based email, 1970's

[ Reply to This | # ]

IBM Personal Communications
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:23 PM EST
IBM made a software package for DOS based PCs as far back as 1991 for sure that I can remember, called IBM Personal Communicationss. It was a 3270 terminal emulatoer so your PC could act as a mainframe terminal, but it would also transfer files to and from the mainframe as well as translate the data between EBCDIC (the IBM mainframe method for encoding text) and ASCII (the PC method for encoding text).

Here is an excerpt from IBM's corporate history web pages for 1986:
With a new programming facility - Advanced Peer-to-Peer Networking - customers can attach midrange systems and Personal Computers to networks of System/36 computers and communicate without a controlling System/370-based computer.


This indicates that PC's could communicate and exchange data with system/370 based computers (EBCDIC and ASCII talking to each other, heterogeneous computers) even before 1986.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sendmail
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:25 PM EST
I have to admit, the patent really sounds to me like sendmail. Sendmail employs
rulesets to define how headers are interpreted and routed, it employs an
internal 'database' in memory of these rulesets, and it has a 'bag', or mail
spool, for storing the altered data.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Sendmail - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:50 PM EST
Prior art? Obvious renaming of common operations.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:29 PM EST
This seems to be a patent on transforming data from one computer system for use
on another.
Think very generic here -- ANY data acquisition system using multiple
heterogeneous controllers does this.

Prior art:
telemetry systems from the 1940's
laboratory data acquisition and control systems (if your computer manages
multiple programmable instruments)
flight control systems
vehicle management systems
building management and control systems
security systems

I'm sure there are systems out there that fit directly into every claim of this
patent.

The prior art from these process control domains was probably overlooked, and
patents *not*referenced* simply because the patent claims were written in terms
suited for data processing, not as process control or data acquisition.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Borland Paradox & Delphi
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:31 PM EST
I was using Borland Paradox & Delphi to do EXACTLY what this supposed patent was stating. Using the internet wayback machine, here is a web link for Borland company website, Nov 1996

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:35 PM EST
So many ways that it could be interpreted.

A BBS system?
An SQL server?

I don't think that there will be anyone using a technology employing data
"bags".

[ Reply to This | # ]

PKI, dBase, X.400, and MS Exchange could probably pass for prior art ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:46 PM EST
PKI (1976) -- Contains: cryptographic algorithms for transforming data; schema
that defines what and how the data is stored; keys that are used to transform
data; cryptographic engines for performing the transformations; directory
servers or databases for storing the transformed data; is distributed and
heterogeneous.

Also, look at the X.400 standard (1984) -- used for electronic messaging
(typically a back-end protocol in certain email systems).

LDAP (early 90's) -- usually used with PKI. Includes schema that defines how
and what data is stored. Typically includes LDIF interface for import/export of
data.

dBase (at least early 80's) -- a database. Scriptable.

Microsoft Exchange server (first publicly sold in June 1996, but users were
running beta 1 in April 1996, according to Wikipedia) -- Exchange consists of a
message store (database), X.400 protocol, etc.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Floppy disc / Import / Save As
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:48 PM EST
If the means of data exchange was a floppy disk, then a typical spreadsheet app
does most of the operations listed.

You can Import a text file into the internal spreadsheet 'data bag' by defining
a template of where the columns start and end and what data type each column
represents. This can be saved as metadata for subsequent imports.

Export or Save-As functionality re-formats data from the internal spreadsheet
format to a format defined by a customizable template, such that the file on the
floppy disk can be read by target computer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 12:52 PM EST
The goal is exchange data between computers and transform the data when needed.
This was immediately obvious once somebody had two computers.

I think the patent adequately describes technologies available in the 1950's or
1960's. Any method of data transfer (punch cards, magnetic tape, point-to-point
data circuit) and any programming language address all of the claims in the
patent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Shoot, I think I was doing this in the mid 80s
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:00 PM EST
with extracting data form one proprietary databse into another - Borland's
Paradox - then, here is the applicable part, using Borland's Quattro Pro's
ability to import Paradox data, along with Quattro macros and Quattro lookup
tables (metadata) to present the database information in spreadsheets and
graphs.
Sounds to me like any systems integrator throuhout the history of computing
would have performed this action. This is what makes a patent on this process so
laughable.

[ Reply to This | # ]

FIX protocols
Authored by: TheOldBear on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:10 PM EST
The FIX protocols used to exchange information between stock exchange trading
partners should certainly count as prior art [back to the early 1970's]. These
were quite similar to the ANSI X.12 EDI standards, and the trading floor /
brokerage systems converted to and from different formats.

At AMEX [SIAC], the conversion/dispatch program was called the 'Common Message
Switch'.

[ Reply to This | # ]

DSSL
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:22 PM EST
Automated processing of DSSL:
http://xml.coverpages.org/ebtDSSSL.html

There's older stuff then this. Look to DataViz for more.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:22 PM EST
look at Replic-action from http://www.casahl.com/
I was using it in 1995 to coordinate data between legacy data stores and Lotus
Notes.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Someone should contact DataViz, Inc.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:22 PM EST
This patent sounds almost exactly like what DataViz, Inc. has built their entire company around. From their abstract:
DataViz is an industry leader in developing and marketing Office compatibility and productivity solutions across a variety of platforms including Palm OS, Symbian OS, BlackBerry, Java, Windows Mobile, Windows and Macintosh. Founded in 1984, DataViz began its business developing file conversion software and has since expanded its expertise to providing solutions that meet the increasing demands of the handheld and mobile markets. With enterprise-grade solutions that include its award-winning mobile Office suite, Documents To Go, and wireless Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync client, RoadSync, DataViz is committed to providing premium solutions that mobilize ‘Microsoft Office’ without compromise and provide customers with instant access to critical files and business data.
I've been using their products since 1989, and what they do is definitely prior art. They even tackle it from multiple angles, so as to cover the patent if it is talking about live conversion over a network, conversion between linked heterogeneous devices, or conversion over offline devices.

For that matter, Palm's HotSync and Palm Desktop offerings are probably also prior art (converting data between multiple calendars, address book apps, etc. using the methods described).

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems - the next SCO?
Authored by: tiger99 on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:22 PM EST
Does this sound a bit like SCO? Suing the entire world, including IBM?

I guess Groklaw will be busy for the next 5 years.....

Meanwhile, I am off to read this in detail to see if I can find any useful prior art. In general terms there is plenty, but specific to the detail of this patent, it may be slightly more difficult.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:28 PM EST
This patent describes the WRQ Reflection series of products. The version I am
using at work is copyrighted 1985 - 2005. This program transfers/translates
data between Vax VMS, UNIX, AS400, PC based, and other networks. I should think
a commercial product would trump any newer patent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ICOA in RACE II AMICS
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:33 PM EST
They might want to rummage through the results and publications of a rather
obscure European Community RACE II project called AMICS (Advanced Multimedia and
Image Communication Services). In particular the ICOA (Image Communication Open
Architecture) part.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Amusing
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:34 PM EST

Based on the abstract, the stock system I wrote at home almost fully infringes this patent perfectly:

  1. Process to identify a list of stocks - postgres database with stock symbols and quote values.
  2. Process to export that list to a file for processing - postgres export.
  3. Process to use the list to go to the TSX website, query the current quote and fetch it to a local file - pearl, i believe the module for the simply web page, been a while and my memory is a little fuzzy.
  4. Process to filter html file to pull out the stock information - mostly grep, a little awk, a little head, a little tail.
  5. Process to load that stock information into the database for processing - postgres load.
  6. Process to "modify" the data as required - postgres, sql - this not only checks data validity but initially loads the information into the appropriate parent tables then proceeds to process the stock information for patterns.
  7. Process to produce data for export - postgres, basic reporting structure for the data.
  8. Process to send data in the identified format to another computer - email the report produced to my work email.
The part I'm missing: metadata processing - if the TSX produced it's web pages in xml format, that would be covered. This is what I produced at home for a personal project. If there isn't loads of examples of prior art in the business world there should be.

At the very least, I can't see how any average developer wouldn't be able to put together an appropriate solution provided the context of a defined problem. In other words, Obviousness should easily be passed.

Now to read the actual claims and see how close my system is to them as opposed to the abstract.

RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: mtew on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:36 PM EST
1. A distribution system for transforming and exchanging data between
heterogeneous computer systems, comprising:

a) a systems interface for defining logical import and export data
interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;

b) a metadata database for storing said logical import and export data
interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;

c) a script processor for utilizing metadata from the metadata database to
control data transformation within said systems interface and movement of said
data into and out of said distribution system; and

d) a rule set processor responsive to said script processor for manipulating
a data bag for storing imported data and a data bag for storing export data.

------------------------------------------------------------

1) This can include any physical media transport as well as electronic
transport. Magnetic tape comes to mind.

2) The detailed claims describe almost any self-documenting database system with
a conversion tool.

Sorry, no specific examples...


---
MTEW

[ Reply to This | # ]

Three examples
Authored by: DaveAtFraud on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:47 PM EST
While at TRW Defense Systems Group I on three different tactical data procesing
projects for the U.S. Army starting in 1989. The first project was combat
services support control system (CSSCS). CSSCS consisted of a heterogeneous
network of computers that collected and forwarded logistics data (food, fuel,
ammunition, etc.) from various units "up" the chain of command.
Everything ran on a distributed Informix database with each unit having its own
data plus subordinate unit data. We defined a flexible messaging protocol that
allowed us to add new classes of logistics data as we completed additional
iterations of the project.

The second project was very similar to CSSCS but was intended for "echelons
above corps". This was the U.S. Army Europe Tactical Command and Control
System (UTACCS) which was being rewritten as the Standard Theater Army Command
and Control System (STACCS). Same idea as CSSCS but at the next level up and
again using a distributed Informix database. My understanding is that VII Corps
used UTACCS during Desert Storm in 1991.

Finally, I also worked on an Army air defense project in 1988 called Forward
Area Air Defense Command and Contol System (FAAD C**2I). This was yet another
heterogeneous network of computers that kept a custom shared database of the
current air defense picture. Communications were made over the Enhanced
Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS) which was an early (1200 baud)
tactical data exchange system. All messages were custom created to fit the
EPLRS data bandwidth constraint. The target hardware was a combination of
militarized HP 9000 workstations and 80386 handheld tablets.

I would think that any one of the above examples would be sufficient to show
that prior art exists for maintaining a distributed database using extensible
custom messaging over various communications protocols. All of the
specifications and design level documentation for the above systems was
unclassified and should be available under the freedom of information act.

Cheers,
Dave

---
Quietly implementing RFC 1925 wherever I go.

[ Reply to This | # ]

IEBGENER was on System 360
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:57 PM EST
IEBGENER was available on IBM System 360 before they renamed it to System 370.
I remember the program from the early 70's.

[ Reply to This | # ]

NJE, Wang PROFS/Office gateway, IBM AFP printers, Plotting geophysical data
Authored by: mikeprotts on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 01:58 PM EST
Network Job Entry allowed foriegn systems to invoke IBM mainframe jobs (80's)
and get results. RSCS allowed VM to interface to MVS.

Wang PROFS/Office gateway ran on RSCS and allowed IBM mainframe PROFS to
exchange files (notes/messages - like email) with the WANG Office - I used this
sometime between 88 and 92 (can't remember when). I extended this to support
CMS notes - it was fairly obvious back then. Take a file/datastream and place
it in a container (spool). Run a process to convert to format for other system,
place in spool. At some stage either data was sent to other system, or
collected by it.

Also at that time I was using IBM AFP (from start of POLL tax - that gives the
date). We could transform files from PC's and Wang and send them to mainframe
printers, which involved converting from ascii and images to the AFP printer
stream. Using DCF/Script and SGML was similar to XML.


Before that I was an operator and data was collected on tapes (ships taking
geophysical measurements), loaded via Sperry, Unisys, DG or Vax machines,
programs also from these, with the number crunching on a Cray, and results sent
back, or plotted on either paper or film. A lot of transforming of data and
moving between platforms.

Cheers
Mike

[ Reply to This | # ]

Any email system circa 1985
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:06 PM EST
Any email system that did BITNET and uucp email circa 1985 did this, in that
email was converted to the right format as it was sent back and forth between
gateways.
(Marc Mengel not logged in)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Healthcare systems based around HL7 information interchange
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:08 PM EST
I think there's tons of prior art in the healthcare industry. Hospital data
systems
have been interchanging data for many years using data formats like HL7, with
metadata based transformation systems. I worked with a system called Hublink,
from "Hublink Inc" which was based in Columbus Ohio back in the
nineties, and
through a few google searches I found that Hublink was founded in 1992 to
produce this product.

[ Reply to This | # ]

perl
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:10 PM EST
The perl computer language was written by Larry Wall to solve this very problem. (see the 'History Made Practical', chapter of Programming Perl, second edition, p 554.) By 1996, perl was powering the web and database packages for perl were widely available. All points of this patent are a subset of what I've used perl for over the years.

I'd be mighty embarrassed to discover to discovered I'd patented a tree while everyone else was busy working in the forest.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • perl - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:19 PM EST
  • perl - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:28 PM EST
IBM patent 5278978
Authored by: DustDevil on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:12 PM EST
link

Method and system for describing and exchanging data between heterogeneous database systems with data converted by the receiving database system

January 11, 1994
Filed: March 26, 1990

Abstract
The invention establishes the context in which data exchanged between dissimilar relational database management systems can be mutually understood and preserved. The invention accomplishes this by establishing layers of descriptive information which isolate machine characteristics, levels of support software, and user data descriptions. Optimized processing is achieved by processing the different descriptor levels at different times during the development and execution of the database management systems. Minimal descriptive information is exchanged between the cooperating database management systems. For systems which match, data conversion is completely avoided. For systems which do not match, data conversion is minimized.

---
All comments are my own, not that of my employer

[ Reply to This | # ]

Prior Art: VM/SP RSCS and JES2 NJE
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:17 PM EST
VM/SP RSCS was able to connect to an MVS/SP JES2 system and transfer SPOOL files
between one another before 1981 when I started in IT. IBM built their SNA
network round that.

VM/SP and MVS/SP are clearly heterogeneous (they ran on the same hardware but
were in no means alike).

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: mdhmiller on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:20 PM EST
Possible prior art might include:

DBMS/Copy from Conceptual Software was specifically designed for converting
between database and stat packages. I own the product and have been using it
since the early 1990's . The products was already on Version 5 by 1996.
Conceptual Software was acquired by SAS Institute and is marketed by the
DataFlux subsidiary under the name dfPower.
(www.dataflux.com/Technology/Products/DBMS/)

Stat/Transfer [www.conceptual.com) has been doing conversions like this since
1986. I own this product and use it frequently.

Data Junction is another product available before 1996.
The firm was aquired by Pervasive Software in 2003.
I have used the product. A curious twist is that Pervasive started out as
SoftCraft marketing Btrieve and was at one time owned by Novell.
(ww1.pervasive.com)

...Mark Miller

[ Reply to This | # ]

Data Junction (an early ETL) did this WAY before that...
Authored by: Eeyore on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:24 PM EST
Data Junction (now owned by Pervasive Data Integration) does exactly this... They called it a "hub and spoke" system in the 1990's when I used it, but the concept is the same - a "spoke" was a script used to define both the input and output format, the "hub" worked as the database at the center.

Unfortunately, I can't find the exact creation date, but I did find a reference to Data Junction in patent 6631382 that references version 4.2 from 1993 (there were over 100 hits on "Data Junction" in the patent database). And here is a press release from 1998 that discusses their teaming with Microsoft on version 6.5 and their existing 100,000 users and references winning awards for the previous 6 years (since 1992).
    Data Junction Corporation has set the industry standard for data conversion tools, winning the Readers’ Choice Award for "Best File Conversion Tool" from Data Based Advisor for the last six years in a row. And in 1997, the company was honored with "best product award for DBMS, connectivity, distributed access and migration" in Oracle Tech Journal.

Also, here is an article from 1992 discussing "EDI" and ANSI X12 which is a data interchange format for submitting electronic claims to Medicare using heterogeneous systems.

Hope one or both of these help.

[ Reply to This | # ]

SETI??
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:27 PM EST
SETI released their first system in 1997. It looks like it would cover all of
the patent. Initial papers describing their plans were published in 1996.
Bill

[ Reply to This | # ]

Possible prior art....
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:49 PM EST
I would think any IBM patents in regards to ebdic to ascii conversion of data
for their mainframe - internet connectivity would qualify. It would at least
bring obviousness to the table. In short, data conversion to permit
communication between systems has been around about as long as networking in
general and has definately been around since the beginning of the
"internet".
Also, since there very few patents in regards to IP, but there are a lot of
published RFC's, prior publication of the concepts may also provide an
invaluable defense. As to the claims above, a "bag" for input/output
is just a different way of expressing buffer. Input/output buffers have been
around a long time and can at least narrow/eliminate some of the claims.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EDI
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:52 PM EST
Could you view the patent as a different description of EDI (Electonic Data
Interchange) which was a fairly common thing prior to 1997?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Patent Troll Paradox.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 02:55 PM EST
One has to ask:

How did it come to pass that there are thousands of infringers with billions due
in damages as the patent trolls assert?

The simple answer is: 1) thousands have based their technology on that which has
gone before as in the prior art. Or 2) thousands have independently come to the
very same solution to some technical problem, as in it is obvious. Or 3) some
combination of both.

"Patent revenue firms" are often investment vehicles for the get rich
quick schemers who depend on the next "greater fool" until, sooner or
later, it all falls apart in court.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Paper Tape? Punch Cards?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 03:06 PM EST
The format of paper tape or punch cards is exacly what they are talking about.
Computer #1 spits out paper tape of punch cards. Physical media is moved by
vehicle to #2 computer. #2 computer reads punch cards or paper tape to create
information.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Playing the Devils Advocate
Authored by: ausage on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 03:13 PM EST

The problem here is not this particular patent. The problem is "software patents" in general.

I have only scanned the patent quickly, but this patent seems to be an exact duplicate of a number of systems I developed during the 80's and early 90's for various employers. To name a few:

  1. circa 1988 - A system to import multiple mailing list files in different formats (fixed and variable length, dBase, etc) and encodings (EBCDIC and ASCII); transform them to a common format; do a merge / purge to remove duplicates and invalid addresses; them export the resulting list in the client's defined format.

  2. circa 1986 - A distributed data entry system for payroll processing that accepted customer employee data in various formats; transformed that data to a common standard format; merged data from multiple data collections systems, balancing and creating audit trails; transforming the data to a mainframe format for processing; accepting processed output to generate reports (paper and electronic) and electronic fund transfers.

  3. circa 1993 - A system to accept client data in various formats and transform that data to the common EDI format used by Canadian banks and transmit that data to the banks for processing.

Each of these were developed as proprietary systems for different employers. None of these complanies exists anymore (some dissolved, others were acquired and absorbed by other larger companies) anjd I have no documentation or code any longer, so this evidence is anecdotal at best. The only difference between what I did and what the patent holder here has done is that they, or their employers, had the foresight and the money to apply for and obtain a patent. It does not make them bad. It make the system of software patents bad. By attacking individual patents, we are only supporting the system. What needs to be done is to invalidate the concept that a creative idea (a software program) can be patented.

When governments around the world accepted that software programs were an expression of a creative idea by explicitly extending copyright protection to them, most people in the field accepted this as a good development. It encouraged the publication of source code, so we all could learn and protected the author of a program from someone taking their work and selling it as their own.

Software patents, OTH, have never been explicitly granted by an act of any government, but are a creature created by the American courts. What we need are more simplistic, obvious, and trivial software patents so that every time IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Sun, Cisco, Oracle and others turn around, someone else is standing on the corner with their hand out for another $2 million or $20 million or $200 million. What we need are for the banks, brokerage houses, manufacturers and retailers, to be in constant fear that somebody, somewhere is going to knock on their door with an injunction to shut down their computer systems because some bright programmer working for them just infringed on a patent no one knew about.

When this happens, maybe then the big boys with the big bucks will go to court to say "Stop, this is rediculous. Please reverse yourselves and get us out of this mess".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Back in the 1970's at DEC we
Authored by: complex_number on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 03:20 PM EST
had a number of products that connected one computer system to another. For
example a PDP-11 running RT/11 was able to connect to an ICL Mainframe. The
formats of data on the two systems were different so that takes care of the
transformation. eg The ICL System used 24bit words, the PDP-11 used 16 bit
words.
The character set mappings were also different.

The same group in DEC (Computer Special Systems) also sold IBM system emulators
for the PDP-11 ( RT/11 or RSX-11/M operating systems)

Then along came V1.0 of DECnet. This allowed DEC-10's, DEC-20's, PDP-11's
(various O/S) to connect in a network.

For the hetrogeneous stuff, how about a VMS Cluster. Circa 1983. Shared storage,
even diskless nodes. Then in 1992, the introduction of Alphas let you have mixed
clusters.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ParPC allowed intercommucation between PC and Amiga
Authored by: jjock on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 03:37 PM EST
Parpc is a freeware program that allows intercommunication
between an Amiga and a PC. It was developed from Parnet,
which was an Amiga to Amiga program that allowed complete
access to the host.

4/29/92 -- Original release V 1.0 -- Richard Gerber

I used both programs regularly back then and it is difficult to
imagine two systems being more different from one another. ie
Amiga was robust, and the ms powered systems were anything
but. There was a further development called ParBench, which
included a GUI interface. It also worked well. All the information
is still available on Aminet.
PS, I still run a couple of Amigas --- they were that good.
Bob

http://aminet.net/package/comm/net/parpc04

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 03:47 PM EST
This might be of use.

Computers in Cardiology 1994

ieeexplore.ieee.org/iel2/3299/9921/00470139.pdf?arnumber=470139

CHORT : an Original System for Cardiological Database
Hospital Reports
D Dee, C Derwael, JL Matton,
R Vanbutsele, C Brohet, M De Kock
Catholic University of Louvain, Medical School, Brussels, Belgium

Abstract

Data collection and management is a tedious and time
consuming activity. With CHORT (Cardiac Hospital
ReporT), we have designed a new approach to integrating
all data related to a specific patient. CHORT allows
interactive data input or data acquisition from external
systems. CHORT is able to access other local databases.
CHORT can initiate REGAL. a report generator, at
any time during a patient's hospital stay. All information
is converted into fluent French text before being integrated
into the report and merged with free text. REGAL is an
interpreted language permitting flexibility in data selection and control over
data display and page lay-out.
CHORT improves and speeds up medical file access,
suppresses typed report output, and provides a database
for clinical and scientific purposes.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kind of depressing
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 03:53 PM EST
All throughout my programming career I was given various projects and simply
made them work (this is one). But now I find that more and more of what I had
done was either patented beforehand or was itself patentable. I'm not stupid
but I'm no super ace programmer either and there are probably hundreds of
thousands like me around the world just doing what we do. Yet, this seems to
be considered non-obvious to a practicioner in the field. What part of obvious
do they not understand? The more I see, the more I dislike software patents.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Look at Informatica
Authored by: seeks2know on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 04:02 PM EST

The patent talks a lot about using mapping and metadata to transform data. To me this is the core issue (because data exchange among systems existed long before this patent).

After reading the patent, I immediately thought about Informatica's products. Their bread and butter is data warehousing and transforming data as it is exchanged between systems.

So I pulled up the oldest www.informatica.com web page that I could find on the wayback machine - which is dated April 10, 1997.

Sure enough, in 1997 their products already did all of this. Here is a snippet:

Metadata is the "data about data" that serves as the information map for any data warehouse or data mart – the wellspring feeding the next wave of growth in the data warehousing market.

Informatica was founded in 1993, so there must be a lot of prior art that pre-dates these products that existed in 1997.

In any event, all of the details were, of course, obvious in 1997, because they already existed.

---
There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."
-- George Washington

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Data about Data - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 05:58 AM EST
ASN.1
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 04:03 PM EST
From thier website
Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1) is a formal language for abstractly describing messages to be exchanged among an extensive range of applications involving the Internet, intelligent network, cellular phones, ground-to-air communications, electronic commerce, secure electronic services, interactive television, intelligent transportation systems, Voice Over IP and others. Due to its streamlined encoding rules, ASN.1 is also reliable and ideal for wireless broadband and other resource-constrained environments. Its extensibility facilitates communications between newer and older versions of applications. In a world of change, ASN.1 is core technology, constantly adapting to new technologies.

Main Page
Standards Page which you will note gives 1990, 1994, 1997, and 2002 as dates the standard was submitted.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patent number: 5442783
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 04:07 PM EST
Method and apparatus for transferring data base information

Filing date: Sep 24, 1993
Issue date: Aug 15, 1995
Inventors: Gary J. Oswald, Mark Banghart, Michael E. Burke
Assignee: Motorola, Inc.
Primary Examiner: Dennis M. Butler

What is claimed is:

1. A data base transfer controller for use with a digital computer having a
first processor, for performing database information transfers between the
computer and at least a second processor device coupled to the computer via a
communications network, each processor having a data base that may be different
in structure and number of data base elements, the controller comprising:

means for identifying the first processor's data base elements;
means for identifying the at least second processor's data base elements,
the at least second processor's data base elements being different in structure
or number of data base elements than the first processor's data base elements;
means, coupled to the first and the at least second processor, for comparing
the identified data base elements to determine those elements common to the
first and the at least second processor data bases;
means, coupled to the first and the at least second processor, for
developing a working language from the data base elements common to the first
and the at least second data base elements;
means, coupled to the first and the at least second processor, for
communicating the working language to the first and the at least second
processor; and
means, coupled to the first and the at least second processor, for
commencing transfers of data base information between the first and the at least
second processor as a function of the working language.

2. The controller of claim 1 wherein the means for developing a working language
further comprises means for ignoring uncommon data base elements within the
first and the at least second processor data bases.

3. The controller of claim 1 wherein, upon receipt of the working language,
either processor may initiate data base information transfers.

4. The controller of claim 1 wherein the means for identifying the first
processor's data base elements is the first processor.

5. The controller of claim 1 wherein the means for identifying the at least
second processor's data base elements is the second processor.

6. The controller of claim 1 wherein the means for comparing the identified data
base elements comprises at least one of the processor's coupled to the
communications network.

7. The controller of claim 1 wherein the means for developing a working language
is at least one of the processor's coupled to the communications network.

8. The controller of claim 1 wherein the working language is developed without
resort to data base conversion routines.

Citations
Patent Number Title Issue date
4205371 Data base conversion system May 27, 1980
4259549 Dialed number to function translator for telecommunications switching
system control complex Mar 31, 1981
4442321 Transparent dialing between interconnected telecommunication switching
systems Apr 10, 1984
4531186 User friendly data base access Jul 23, 1985
4553205 Flexible macro expansion process Nov 12, 1985
4604686 Associative data access method (ADAM) and its means of
implementation Aug 5, 1986
4691278 Data processor executing microprograms according to a plurality of
system architectures Sep 1, 1987
4829554 Cellular mobile telephone system and method May 9, 1989
4908759 Hierarchical database conversion with conditional write Mar 13, 1990
4975830 Computer communication system having supplemental formats Dec 4, 1990
5187787 Apparatus and method for providing decoupling of data exchange details
for providing high performance communication between software processes Feb 16,
1993

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: ChasF on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 04:26 PM EST

I've just arrived home (after 3 weeks away) so I haven't studied the details of the patent yet. However, the summary is identical to the SAP R/2 --> R/3 Migration software suite that was implemented at a customer site in 1995. (I was there and did some enhancements to it.) Whilst the software was intended to be used for moving data from an IBM/Amdahl/Siemens SAP system to the R/3 environment, we used the code generation utilities (based on scripts) to convert non-SAP data.

I suspect that these SAP components which date from 1993 are also relevant:

  1. EDI interface generation software (R/3)
  2. FI-Treasury Bank Reconciliation generation software (R/3)
  3. HR Payroll Interface toolbox (this might be too late)
  4. RP/RW PDC (Plant Data Collection) interface software (this dates from the 1980s)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oracle settled???
Authored by: PTrenholme on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 04:34 PM EST

I can't believe Oracle settled. The standard method to export data from a data base is to:

1: Write a query to display the data to be exported (i.e., a script)

2: Run the query directing the output to a file.

And, conversely, importing the data to some other database (e.g., MySQL) on a different computer is the converse procedure.

And I seem to recall doing this in the 1980s using an Oracle data base.

And, of course, Microsoft's "Access" data base even has a GUI to make this easier. Including version written for Windows 3.1, if I recall correctly.

---
IANAL, just a retired statistician

[ Reply to This | # ]

Are they claiming a patent on web services?
Authored by: sleadley on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 04:47 PM EST
The patent describes a system (assuming that they had something that worked) that sounds like parts of the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) web services protocol stack, e.g. WSDL, SOAP and XML. There is considerable prior art underlying all of those protocols and standards.

Additional thoughts:
  • The prose description is barely comprehensible (even for stiff, technical English).
  • The prose description is very vague. (Yah, I know that claiming the moon and stars is good patent lawyering, but if a good system designer/programmer can't figure out if a system is or isn't a member of the class described, the problem is with the description. I think I could make a decent argument that their patent is broad enough to cover most relational databases [i.e., overly broad].)
  • The lines in the drawings are straight and the text is clearly printed. Other than that, they've been so sanatized that they don't have a lot of usable content.
  • With this amorphous patent they can probably sue just about anybody who sells a system that (1) does data transformation (2) in a distributed computing environment and (3) uses any form of interpreter (the phrase in the patent application is "script processor"). I think that includes most of the middleware vendors out there. Red Hat (JBoss), BEA (ALES), IBM (WebSphere) and Sun (SeeBeyond) come immediately to mind.
  • The root cause here is a poor patent application, followed by a bad patent grant. Lets hope the NTP/RIM (Blackberry) patent fight sensitized the USPTO sufficiently for them to give this turkey a quick review and a merciful and well-deserved death.
  • Just like a bad spam or virus filter, the USPTO patent examination system is letting way too many of these content-free software patents through.
  • When I read the phrase "It will be understood by those having skill in the art ...", I laughed out loud. I wasn't laughing when I finished and realized that the "art" being described was not the art of system design and specification, but the art of obfuscation. More like tears of frustration.
  • Given that the patent troll Juxtacomm Technologies is a Canadian company, maybe this is coldly calculated revenge for the NTP/RIM debacle.
  • This might be just the beginning for Juxtacomm Technologies, they have some even sketchier patents listed on their website.

---
Scott Leadley

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sounds like EDIFACT
Authored by: bigbert on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 04:51 PM EST
Electronic Data Iterchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport. ISO Standard 9735 Google search for ISO 9735: Here

---
----- ---------------------
Surfo, ergo sum.

[ Reply to This | # ]

maybe infomodeler
Authored by: dbmuse on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:16 PM EST
Infomodeler by Asymetrix allowed you to enter facts, examples of data and
business rules that it would model into a database schema. I think it even
created the database and populated your example data??? choose your version of
database. I think it at least is using meta data to describe and create a
database. I still have my 1.5 version (windows 3.1) floppies and manual. There
is a web site at "http://www.ormcentral.com/ORM/InfoModeler.htm"
Some of the documentation I have is copyrighted in 1993.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:23 PM EST
When I was involved in migrating systems to the ICL 2900 series in 1980ish, one
tool we used was a standard ICL tool for data conversion. You described the
source data in a meta language, the destination data and the mapping. The
software then converted the data.

[ Reply to This | # ]

NCR Teradata
Authored by: rainecc on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:27 PM EST
NCR/Teradata have been around a very long time doing ETL. Teradata were doing this kind of mass metadata work since at least 1991. They were bought by AT&T in 1992 and thus merged with NCR. They have a patemt portfolio, so I'd imagine a search in that area may be fruitful.

There is a useful list of ETL processing companies here (kjube.be)

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • NCR Teradata - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 09:41 PM EST
What about the ASN.1 and Z39.50 Standards from the US Gov
Authored by: dirkoid on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:44 PM EST

It's been some time now, but it seems to me this is exactly what we were doing in 1995 when I worked at a major public library.

The idea was to present any institution's database as an available resource using the Z39.50 protocol and DTDs to describe how to format and present the data stream in various ways.

This included taking data from internet search engines, other libraries catalogs, and our own internal catalog and formatting the datastream so that all resources were presented in a standard reply page to the user.

I was a sysadmin for the hosts providing this function which included SGI Challenge and Octane systems, PC based servers running on Winderz and the Tandem midrange platform that ran our catalog and circulation system. Additionally we pulled in resources from OCLC, The Online Computer Library Center, and their multitude of online databases.

Seems to me they're claiming they've patented an applicaiton based entirely on previously available open standards and protocols. I wish I could be more specific on how this beast worked but the information might be available directly from OCLC.

Or then again I could be completely mistaken.

[ Reply to This | # ]

'transcoding' was the keyword that popped into my head
Authored by: yscydion on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:45 PM EST

Reading the quoted claim, the bit about "data transformation" made the term 'transcoding' pop into my head so I did a bit of poking around using that term. One thing I found that looks particularly interesting is Adapting to Network and Client Variability via On-Demand Dynamic Distillation; Fox et.al.; Proc. Seventh Intl. Conf. on Arch. Support for Prog. Lang. and Oper. Sys. (1996) (CiteSeer entry). You can get the full paper as a PDF (and in other forms) via the CiteSeer entry; I think the video transcoder is particularly interesting as an example of selecting a data conversion process based on the input and output data types.

It looks as if transcoding was quite a popular topic in the mid to late 1990s so it may be a useful keyword for further searches.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Prior art
Authored by: pem on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:45 PM EST
One word: Expect

[ Reply to This | # ]

Relational Database
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:51 PM EST
"Database is a mechanised, shared, formally defined and centrally
controlled collection of data used in an organisation." GOrdon C Everest ,
"Database Management", ISBN 0-07-Y66456-0

a) a systems interface for defining logical import and export data interfaces,
data transformation rule sets and scripts;
Well defined DB access interfaces.


b) a metadata database for storing said logical import and export data
interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;
DB Schema

c) a script processor for utilizing metadata from the metadata database to
control data transformation within said systems interface and movement of said
data into and out of said distribution system;
SQL

d) a rule set processor responsive to said script processor for manipulating a
data bag for storing imported data and a data bag for storing export data.
RDBMS engine


Next obvious answer please......

Bob S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: bloggsie on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:53 PM EST
Looks to me as if the UUCP suite originally by AT&T from
the '70s is prior art.

See:- http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2235 for many
references to early networking efforts and papers.

Also, to this non-patent attorney old-timer, it would
appear that the ZMODEM protocol written and by Chuck
Forsberg in 1986 and so beloved by the interconnected FIDO
BBS systems would qualify too.
See:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZMODEM and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Forsberg

These patent troll bounders need to discover the precise
meaning of 'Rotan'. That would stop the lot of them dead
in their evil tracks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:58 PM EST
Hmm. Seems to me they just described a networked database. Lemme see. In 98 I
was working on one of those databases. We called it an ineventry system. It
had reports that could go to various locations. I suppose people threw some out
into bags.

I'd take this more seriously, but I'm laughing too hard.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 06:00 PM EST
This patent functionality appears similar to that found in General Electric
Information Services (GEIS) MS-DOS applications EDI*PC 6.x - 7.x and Map*Mate
1.x - 2.x that was sold commercially from 1990 through 1997. Map*Mate 2.x was
developed in GEIS's Brentwood, TN office from 1993 - 1996. Map*Mate 2.x was
designed to map clients internal data formats for both import and export to EDI
Data standards formats. The program had a user interface for creations of
meta-data maps that the mapping engine used to translate data from one format to
another. The meta-data maps contained the translation rules for the conversion
between data formats. The developers used the program to create sample
templates for clients to use. The target client for the commercial software
package was companies that needed to use (EDI) Electronic Data Interchange for
exchanging of business documents between suppliers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 06:06 PM EST
I'm shocked that Oracle settled given the products they had in 1990.
SQL*Connect to DB2 and SQL*Connect to SQL/DS were two products that Oracle
created that allowed the Oracle products to access DB2 on MVS and SQL/DS on VM
from any Oracle client. At that time Oracle advertised that they ran on over 90
platforms and each of these platforms had direct access to Oracle data as well
as non-Oracle data running on multiple platforms. Oracle also had Oracle for
MVS and Oracle for VM which certainly created heterogenous data platforms from
which to grab and manipulate data. For these products in the early 90's, one
could define views within the data dictionary which would impact the way the
data was selected and manipulated from the other clients.

In the mid-90's (I don't remember which year but would guess around '94 or '95),
Oracle created the Procedural Gateways for CICS and IMS/DC. These allowed
dictionary defined scripts (PL/SQL stored procedures) to further define data and
procedural access to MVS, VM and OS/400 data stores.

These products included code that ran on the client machines (pretty much any
O/S that was on the market at the time) and code that ran on the data/procedure
source machine (MVS, VM and OS/400).

The combination of these products allowed Oracle to acccess via SQL and/or
scripts data located in any MVS or VM data store. The rules for accessing that
data could either by dynamic (in the form of "live" SQL) or
pre-defined via dictionary definitions (views and/or procedures).

Is there something else in the patent that's, ahem, non-obvious to how the above
would apply?

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 06:13 PM EST
What about filesharing between operating systems? Say someone used an
implementation of SMB or NFS to copy a file from a filesystem on one machine to
a different filesystem on a different machine with a different OS? That's been
happening since before 1997, and filesystems are databases in some sense.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What does JuxtaComm think they own?
Authored by: sleadley on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 06:31 PM EST
What does JuxtaComm/Teilhard think they own? A good place to look for clues is the set of defendents. The defendents are:
  1. Ascential Software Corporation (acquired by IBM)
  2. Business Objects SA
  3. Business Objects America (same as Business Objects SA)
  4. CA, Inc. (was Computer Associates)
  5. Cognos, Inc.
  6. Cognos Corporation (same as Cognos, Inc.)
  7. DataMirror, Inc. ("An IBM Company")
  8. Fiorano Software, Inc.
  9. Hummingbird, Ltd. (a division of Open Text)
  10. International Business Machines Corporation (A/K/A IBM)
  11. Informatica Corporation
  12. Information Builders, Inc. (?same as iWay Software?)
  13. Intersystems, Inc.
  14. iWay Software Company (?same as Information Builders?)
  15. MetaStorm, Inc.
  16. Microsoft Corporation
  17. Open Text Corporation
  18. Software AG
  19. Sybase, Inc.
  20. WebMethods, Inc
All of them sell SOA products.

If SOA products are the common element, the list of defendents is strange. IBM is the giant with ~50% market share. All the other players are pygmies, with single digit market share. CA, Microsoft and Sybase have lots of revenue, but if you're going after big boys, why not Oracle and BEA instead of, e.g., MetaStorm?

---
Scott Leadley

[ Reply to This | # ]

RS1, Oracle, and test data
Authored by: tanstaafl on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 06:45 PM EST
I'm at work, so I didn't have time to go over the patent in detail (I'll do that
once I get home), but back in 1993, I worked at Raytheon, a defense contractor.
I was part of a captive GaAs IC manufacturing group, and I wrote a lot of RS1
and SQL code to get data from our wafer fab test equipment into an Oracle
database, and to generate reports from same. Some of the RS1 tables contained
compiled procedures, and these in turn contained PostScript prologs and
trailers, so that might meet the 'stored scripts' part if the stored SQL
procedures don't. I had only started working on PL*SQL, however, so I don't
know how much of that we used.

More later ...

[ Reply to This | # ]

ODBC?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 06:47 PM EST
Am I wrong or does this sound like ODBC as well as many other interchange
protocols for packets, database,etc, that all existed early early in computing
history?

That patent needs to be kicked out not only in court but at the USPTO.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 06:53 PM EST
The invention sounds a lot like my Masters Thesis. Here is the reference.

Structured file translation system : a non-procedural language for file
restructuring
by Forrest Smoot Carl-Mitchell

http://worldcat.org/wcpa/oclc/10581007

[ Reply to This | # ]

Obviousness
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 07:46 PM EST
As fas as transforming data and moving it between systems,

Just about anything using Sun RPC.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: ppanelli on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 08:51 PM EST
There is another mention of SGML in the replies. I think that the work on SGML's predacessors in the late 60's early 70's should fit the bill. History of SGML

Pay attention to the GML/Gencode section and the intended uses of the document format.

If that's not enough this should do Formatting Output Specification Instance Have a look at the diagram. Note the date of the e-mail.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Misconceptions about patents
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 09:07 PM EST
the key vulnerability here is obviousness. But you knew that already just from the title of the patent.
This statement perpetuates confusion among technical people about what the obviousness and prior art defenses mean.

The fact that a patent title could also be used to label some preexisting solution to a similar problem, or even to an identical problem, does not mean the other solution is applicable prior art. The fact that a patent title describes an obvious problem that may have been solved a million times, does not mean the invention is obvious.

Arguments must concern the claims, as interpreted by reference to the specification. It is the claims that describe what is asserted to be original and unobvious, and if you want to challenge those assertions it is the claims you have to attack. Not the problem solved, and certainly not the title.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Transforming data between heterogeneous computers
Authored by: CustomDesigned on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 09:13 PM EST
This happens all the time in EDI. We have used Kleinschmidt and TDNI (canada) to translate EDI messages between various versions and implementations for the past 20 years.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Prior Art - MHSnet
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 09:23 PM EST
There's a networking product called MHSnet which was used for the ACSnet network
in Australia in the late 80s through to late 90s.

> 1. A distribution system for transforming and exchanging
> data between heterogeneous computer systems, comprising:

MHSnet was (still is) a store-and-forward networking system which could
transform data as it was being passed from system to system and ran on a wide
variety of UNIX platforms.

> a) a systems interface for defining logical import and
> export data interfaces, data transformation rule sets
> and scripts;

MHSnet allowed you to specify custom shell scripts which would modify data on
input or output as required. The system came with scripts to encypt data in
transit and to compress data in transit, but it was quite easy to write a one
way transformation ("filter").

The filters are kept in a particular directory and there is a particular set of
arguments handed off to the filter which could be used by the filter to
determine what transformations were necessary.

The filters were mostly written using standard shell scripting, although any
scripting language (or binary) would do the job.

The selection of filter was done using the commandsfile, which would attach a
specific filter to a particular network link. The filter was passed, on
outgoing, immediately before the message was passed to the transport daemon, and
on incoming immediately after the message arrived from the transport daemon.

MHSnet also supports "spoolers", which simply hand off a message to a
script without then passing them to a subsequent link daemon. The spooler script
can do anything with the message that is desired.

> b) a metadata database for storing said logical
> import and export data interfaces, data transformation
> rule sets and scripts;

The use of which filters to apply is specified in the commandsfile, but the main
MHSnet daemon (netinit) would actually convert the initfile into a set of other
files which it would use internally. In fact it was possible to delet the
commandsfile and MHSnet would keep working. There is your "metadata
database", which is used to specify which filters to use on which links.

> c) a script processor for utilizing metadata from the
> metadata database to control data transformation within
> said systems interface and movement of said data into
> and out of said distribution system; and

This is a combination of netinit, which would pass data between the daemons, and
the shell, which would actually interpret the scripts. The passing of data
between filters, network daemons and spoolers was actually handled by a separate
daemon called "router".

> d) a rule set processor responsive to said script
> processor for manipulating a data bag for storing
> imported data and a data bag for storing export data.

MHSnet has an input and output queue for each link, as well as a main routing
queue for the router process. Messages in the routing queue would be flagged as
to where they were in the processing flow.

For "queue" read "bag"; just a matter of terminology.

MHSnet is still sold, although a lot of the implementation details were not
widely published, and several licences were sold in the US - UUNet were using it
for a while.


Ronny Cook

[ Reply to This | # ]

IBM SNA DS and SNA FS
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:00 PM EST
THE IBM SNA Distribution System (SNA DS) and SNA File System (SNA FS) both
incorporate many features relevant to this patent. Some documentation dating
from 1989 includes

<a
href="http://domino.watson.ibm.com/tchjr/journalindex.nsf/495f80c9d0f539778
525681e00724804/d99f447c29a1b05885256bfa00685c11?OpenDocument">System-in
dependent file management and distribution services</a> or <a
href="http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/282/ibmsj2802F.pdf">Ma
naging changes in SNA networks</a>.

Many companies (including Microsoft, HP and DGA) implemented mail gateway
interfaces to SNADS supported IBM mail systems.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: pallen on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:05 PM EST
I am the Intersystems developer who initiated this request, and want to thank
PJ for the nice article and all who have contributed suggestion.

---
Paul Allen (not that one)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software patents & piracy
Authored by: sleadley on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 10:48 PM EST
Perhaps we should start treating patent trolls, at least the foreign ones, like pirates. Then, armed with a letter of marque and reprisal, BSA lawyers could exchange broadsides with this Saskatchewan pirate. If we're lucky, we'd lose both of the arrogant worms ;-).

---
Scott Leadley

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 11:18 PM EST
Searching google books with relevant keywords and publication date restricted to
1997 or before yields the following which may be relevant:
Information Exchange for Medical Devices, 1996,
By Nicolas Pallikarakis, Norbert Anselmann, A. Pernice
Check out page 197 in particular. They describe a prototype system
incorporating a database, metadata files describing the format of the database
records to be imported and the format of an EDI message to be exported (for
communication between members which "may or may not have homogenous or
compatible systems" (p. 193)). The EDI-TIE software package utilizes the
metadata to carry out data transformation. This is all controlled by a visual
basic program, which handles communicating data into and out of the system
(calling the EDI-TIE software as necessary for data transformation).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Prior Art: Z39.50
Authored by: Maple Syrup on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 01:54 AM EST
An implementation of the ANSI-Standard Z39.50 protocol
<http://www.cni.org/pub/NISO/docs/Z39.50-brochure/> might qualify as prior
art.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Berend on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 02:39 AM EST
My vote is for UUCP. It has existed since 1981, and the RFC was written in 1986
(rfc 976)

(a) it talked multiple protocols, and you had to setup the protocol, per
machines (and permissions, etc.)
(b) you had a file to store the metadata.
(c) there was a spool directory, and various programs moved data in and out of
the spool directory, and across to other machines.
(d) there were rules to handle different types of data: mail, data files,
executables

And you could send commands to other machines with uux. So you had remote
procedure calls. In 1981.

It had to be heterogeneous. It catered for a huge amount of hardware and OS-es.
8, 12 and 16 bit machines.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Prior Patent
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 06:30 AM EST
US Patent No 6,101,556 dated January 7, 1997 and Assigned to New Era of
Networks, Inc. Covers the same approach. It describes the approach in more
detail and using different language / terms, but I think that all of the
elements of the claims for this patent (6195662) are present.

The similarity is clearer if you read the Description section rather than
relying on the fairly obtuse language of the claims...

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: jacks4u on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 06:42 AM EST

The whole Internet - doesn't this comprise a system - millions of them, to be more exact - and especially those web sites that are database driven. Perhaps there is no 'bag' per se, but the rest of it fits quite nicely. And as for deciding how to translate data for the intended system, many websites test for browser. If the recipient browser is say... IE, the server runs the IE script, if it's something else, like Mozilla, then, the script runs thru a different set of instructions. Not only that, there are client side scripts, like Javascript or Java that further manipulate data, on the recipient machine.

This might not be prior art, but could go a long way toward proving obviousness.

This patent is SOOO obvious, it's shocking that it got thru the patent system at all.

---
I'm not a Lawyer, this is my opinion only. I may be wrong, but I don't think so!

[ Reply to This | # ]

PDA Sync Software?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 07:16 AM EST
The first Palm Pilot was released in 1996, along with software for syncing
calendar, contacts etc with desktop PC software.

All sync software since, right up to the current ActiveSync and Blackberry
software shares the same characteristics:

1) It has an interface for defining rules that map fields in the PDA application
with equivalent fields in the desktop application.
2) These rule-sets are obviously stored some kind of a definitions db/file and
can resemble scripts. Additionally, there is always some kind of "state
database" which holds (meta?)data regarding what has already been synced
and what is new data.
3) When syncing is initiated the rules and state data are processed to transform
and move new data between the two systems.
4) Not sure what a "data bag" is and whether there's an equivalent
with PDAs - but the rest seems a pretty good match to me.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 07:19 AM EST
This is an easy one.

Way back in 1971/1972 the "HOST-to-HOST" and "HOST-to-IMP"
protocols of the original ARPARNET were designed to very specifically provide
for the interchange of data between heterogeneous hosts.

http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/chris/think/ARPANET/Technical_Tour/overview.shtml



Do a google on "heterogeneous hosts" or "heterogeneous computer
systems" and arpanet and there are lots of links to start looking at.
Also, refer to the OSPF/ISIS book by Doyle, he has a great introductory text
that even names the people that identified this need and wrote the protocols. I
have this book... I'll look it up when I get to work and reply to my own post.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What about xslt
Authored by: nhorman on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 07:23 AM EST
IANAL, but the claims in the patent seems to describe XML transformation
processors rather clearly to me. To provide a map:
1.a) a systems interface for defining logical import and export data interfaces,
data transformation rule sets and scripts (the xsltproc utility or other xml
transform engine)

1.b) a metadata database for storing said logical import and export data
interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts (the xsl transform file)

1.c) a script processor for utilizing metadata from the metadata database to
control data transformation within said systems interface and movement of said
data into and out of said distribution system; (the transform engine again)

1.d) a rule set processor responsive to said script processor for manipulating a
data bag for storing imported data and a data bag for storing export data (the
transform engine)

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 07:55 AM EST
How about good old "DCE and CORBA" from OSI? That goes back to mid
1980's at least.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How can this get patented ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 09:07 AM EST
I read the patent PDF. Is something like this realy possible ?

What the patent describes is any system that can process data in various
formats, convert between those formats and write the data out.

Even their application example shows a crude relational database application. I
did that at school as regular excersise in DB2 like 10 years ago or even more.

Prior art should be obvious:

1. Document validation engine: read several document formats, parse them for
errors (according to a ruleset) and write the corrected document again (in any
format available to the engine). A batch spell checker comes to mind, format
validation engine, grammar procesing/generating systems.

2. A system backup engine with configuration database (something like HP
Dataprotector).

3. Document management system, content managemenr system, web publishing system
based on file format conversion and display profiles (CSS).

I mean they can sue the whole industry. Their patent describes any sensible
document exchange system that can read/write more than one format and do some
basic changes (even batch file renaming) that is configurable in a rule
database.

This will be invalidated very fast. I guess Oracle settled just to leave the
hassle to somebody else and save money.

[ Reply to This | # ]

PVM
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 10:20 AM EST
PVM (Parallel Virtual Machine) is a software package that permits a
heterogeneous collection of Unix and/or Windows computers hooked together by a
network to be used as a single large parallel computer.

http://www.csm.ornl.gov/pvm/

The point of this is to send messages and data between heterogeneous platforms
to do large scale calculations. It's sort of like MPI, but specifically geared
towards a heterogeneous environment.

On the PVM main page at the bottom, there is a link to a user survey from 1992.
Not sure when the very first PVM was released.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • PVM - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 10:22 AM EST
ASN.1 1994
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 10:40 AM EST
Abstract syntaxes describe data transforms for transmission between computer
systems of different architectures. The first standard was published in 1994:
http://asn1.elibel.tm.fr/en/standards/ASN1-1994.htm

Many tools were built to automate these transforms prior to 1997, and work
exactly as described in the patent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

General Observations on Software Patents
Authored by: deck2 on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 12:33 PM EST
It seems that a number of software patents that have recently been in the news
are just restatements of ideas in the public domain. Nothing innovative is done
beyond the existing idea except that the entities that create these patents
obfuscate the language of the existing ideas to such an extent that it takes a
great deal of knowledge to realize that it is just a restatement.

I have also seen the instance recently where it appeared that the work of a
standards group was restated in a similar way and a patent granted by an entity
that was part of the standards group.

When will this depravity end?

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InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 12:38 PM EST
When did LapLink first show up? It did require a custom cable, but that would be
more patentable than this one appears to be.

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Petroleum industry PETRODEX and TABS
Authored by: claytonk on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 02:09 PM EST
In the petroleum industry there are a couple of communications standards to
communicate information and authorization between main computers and computers
at distribution terminals.

These standards are called PETROEX and TABS. Both of these standards
communicate information (sometimes both ways) between different computers over
some type of communications line. Since I was working with these in the 90's
(Before 1997, I started working for a company that used these in their products
late 1989). Frequently the communications line was a modem connection and the
communications was done by scripts or programs.

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RFC 5 and "Decode Encode Langauge"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 02:17 PM EST
from RFC 5, dated June 2, 1969: (HTML mine, "transmissin" is as in my copy)

ABSTRACT

The Decode-Encode Language (DEL) is a machine independent language tailored to two specific computer network tasks:

  • accepting input codes from interactive consoles, giving immediate feedback, and packing the resulting information into message packets for network transmissin.
  • and accepting message packets from another computer, unpacking them, building trees of display information, and sending other information to the user at his interactive station.

This is a working document for the evolution of the DEL language.

Comments should be made through Jeff Rulifson at SRI.

Does this help?

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Would this be prior art? 1991
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 04:00 PM EST
Ravi Krishnamurthy , Witold Litwin , William Kent, Language features for interoperability of databases with schematic discrepancies, ACM SIGMOD Record, v.20 n.2, p.40-49, June 1991

If so, you can find it here.

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Punch card equipment!
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 05:06 PM EST
It had a mechanism for transferring data between dissimilar machines: punched
cards

It could transform data into different formats.

It could be 'scripted' with plugboards.

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CORBA, PERL, and a Database... Prior Art
Authored by: ecarew on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 06:07 PM EST
a standard process started in 1989 by the OMG was designed to fulfill the
following goals as stated on their website (http://www.omg.org):

CORBA is the acronym for Common Object Request Broker Architecture, OMG's open,
vendor-independent architecture and infrastructure that computer applications
use to work together over networks. Using the standard protocol IIOP, a
CORBA-based program from any vendor, on almost any computer, operating system,
programming language, and network, can interoperate with a CORBA-based program
from the same or another vendor, on almost any other computer, operating system,
programming language, and network.

What follows is a list of general capabilities commonly found in technologies
such as CORBA, common databases, and scripting languages which I will try to
match up with the desired specs of the patented product from Juxtacomm
Technologies Inc. in brackets []:

[A distribution system for transforming and exchanging data between
heterogeneous computer systems]
See the goal statement from the OMG above

[A distribution system, wherein said systems interface comprises a configuration
management user interface used by a user to define said logical import and
export data interfaces, and create data transformation rule sets and scripts]
The CORBA defines a IDL (Interface Definition Language) and IDL compiler which
allow the definition of data types to be used in an application, and the
automated method necessary to create code which will transform the data into a
universal format which can then be sent to or received from another computer.
This later process is called marshaling /demarshaling by the OMG's CORBA spec.

[A distribution system as claimed in claim 2, wherein said logical import and
export data interfaces comprise import and export data connections, import and
export data views and said import and export data bags]

[A distribution system as claimed in claim 3, wherein said logical import data
interface is used to import data from an import data source into said
distribution system]
See CORBA IDL from above.

[A distribution system as claimed in claim 4, wherein said import data view is
used during execution of said script processor to load data from said import
data source into said import data bag]
See CORBA IDL from above

[A distribution system as claimed in claim 3, wherein said logical export data
interface is used to export data in said data bag out to an export data target]
See CORBA IDL from above

[A distribution system as claimed in claim 6, wherein export data view of said
export data bag is used during execution of said script processor to save data
from said export data bag out to said export data target]
A connection from a CORBA program (or indeed any other program for that matter)
to a database, or simple file system will accomplish this task.

[A distribution system as claimed in claim 1, wherein defined scripts stored in
said metadata database are executed by said script processor]
See CORBA IDL from above

[A distribution system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said rule processor is
invoked by said script processor to transform the import data bag into the
export data bag based on predefined data transformation rules]
See CORBA IDL from above

[A distribution system as claimed in claim 1 wherein said script processor makes
use of a script control language for controlling data transformation within said
system interface and movement of said data into and out of said distribution
system]
See CORBA IDL from above

[A distribution system as claimed in claim 10, wherein said script control
language comprises a set of script commands and a script command processor to
process and execute each of a number of script command lines]
See CORBA IDL from above

[A distribution system as claimed in claim 11, wherein said set of script
commands comprises a load command to load data into an import data bag from an
import data connection; a sort command for sorting data in a data bag into a
different order; a merge command for merging together data in a number of data
bags; an append command for appending data from one data bag into another data
bag; a copy command for copying one data bag into another data bag; a join
command for joining two or more data bags into another data bag; a format
command for formatting a data bag into another data bag using a defined rule
set; and a save command for saving data from an export data bag out to an export
data connection]
A CORBA application, combined with any common database can perform all the
functions as described in the above claim. Databases are commonly used to
perform set math on collections of records. This functionality is not new or
non-obvious.

[In a distribution system for transforming and exchanging data between
heterogeneous computer systems, a method of controlling data transformation
within said distribution system, comprising the steps of:

a) operating a script processor that utilizes metadata stored in a metadata
database to control the loading of data into an import data bag from a logical
import data interface and performing any one or more of the following steps to
convert the data to a desired format in an export data bag;

1) sorting said data according to a predetermined order;

2) merging data from a number of data bags into one data bag;

3) appending data from a first data bag into another data bag of the same type;

4) copying data from a first data bag into another data bag of the same type;

5) joining data from two or more data bags into another data bag using a
specified key;

6) formatting data from a data bag into another data bag of a different type,
using a defined rule set; and

b) saving the data in the export data bag out to an export data connection.]
See the response to the previous claim

[A method as claimed in claim 13 wherein said logical import data interface
comprises import data connections, import data views and said import data bag]
See the response to the previous claim

[A method as claimed in claim 14 wherein said logical import data interface is
used to import data from an import data source into said distribution system]
See the CORBA IDL description

[A method as claimed in claim 15 wherein said import data view is used during
execution of a script processor to load data from said import data source into
said import data bag]
This is commonly done with standard databases. An example of such a database
which can be freely had is PostgreSQL (http://www.postgresql.org).

[A computer readable memory for transforming and exchanging datastore data
between heterogeneous computer systems using different datastore formats for
storing similar information, comprising:

a) executable code for providing a systems interface for defining logical import
and export data interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;

b) executable code for providing a script processor for utilizing metadata from
a metadata database to control data transformation within said systems interface
and movement of said data into and out of said distribution system; and

c) executable code for providing a rule set processor responsive to said script
processor for manipulating a data bag for storing imported data and a data bag
for storing export data]
Once again, data manipulation as described above can be done with a standard
database, as for the executable code for data import/export, see the CORBA IDL
definition above.

[A computer readable memory as claimed in claim 17 wherein the metadata database
stores logical import and export data interfaces, data transformation rule sets
and scripts executed by the script processor]
All of this claim has been described earlier with IDL and a database, with the
possible exception of the "script processor". Here, the claimant might
be talking about some common kind of programming script non unlike java script
or PERL that is intern stored in a standard database and then run by the
script's interpreter.

[A computer readable memory as claimed in claim 17 further comprising a script
control language used by the script processor to control data transformation
within said system interface and movement of said data into and out of said
distribution system.]
Here the claimant seems to be describing a script language as claimed above
which could be fulfilled by PERL or javascript.

Analysis:
It seems that with this patent, the savvy lawyer could easily attack any company
selling web design services where the delivered product utilized the following
three technologies in combination:
a database, a scripting language like PERL or PHP, and communication between two
separate

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Rule-based data conversion
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 10 2008 @ 11:36 PM EST

OK. What the claims cover is rule-based data conversion or data migration. The claims require a "rule set" and a "rule set processor", rather than a custom program for the specific conversion. Prior art will be in the data conversion/migration area. References to networking or databases generally are irrelevant.

This is a non-trivial problem if the data conversion is to be done well. There are modern systems which do rule-based data conversion. Talend Open Studio is an example. A relatively recent patent in this area is "Rule-based approach to object-relational mapping strategies" (US #6360223). Many commercial services exist for this function; examples are Xact and Ateras. The corporate histories of those companies may be useful.

This 1999 paper, "Tools for Data Translation and Integration", describes an early rule-based system. But that's from 1999.

A little further back, we have "Correspondence and Translation for Heterogeneous Data", a research paper out of Stanford from 1996. This was an early attempt to put a theoretical foundation under data conversion, which previously had been somewhat ad-hoc. Check the references from that paper for earlier work. They weren't really up and running in 1996, though; that came later.

What I'm seeing is that this was an area of active work in the late 1990s, and the first tools that really worked came from that period or later. The priority issue is going to be a close call.

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InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 11 2008 @ 04:16 AM EST
Google scholar has returned for me some surprising results. Here are just a few of the 2500 matching responses, which seem to be related closely to the patent described in this article.

IGES data exchange between dissimilar CAD-CAM systems circa 1982 from the US Dept. Of Energy

Engineering data exchange in the ROSE system circa 1990, an IEEE publication

A data translation tool for engineering systems an IEEE publication relating to the above link, circa 1989

A Unified Data Exchange Environment Based on EDIF circa 1989, also an IEEE publication

I do not have access to the IEEE papers, however the abstracts are available.

One thing I'm not certain about, with prior art, is whether to qualify as prior art, a system needs to perform ALL of the functions of the disputed patent, or if a showing of a significant portion of the disputed functions will qualify as priority, with the remainder of the disputed functions being fairly obvious extensions of the prior art? and is it possible to re-label certain descriptive terms in the disputed patent to reflect more widely used, industry standard terms - ie: instead of 'Bag', a term which seems to refer to temporary storage, could the terms 'Cache', 'Register' or 'Temporary File' be interchanged?

If these transformations are allowed, then it would seem that this patent would encompass the whole of the internet , which is an extremely large system built specifically to facilitate the exchange of data between dissimilar or heterogeneous systems!

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InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 11 2008 @ 05:50 AM EST
first thought was dd in Unix. Then there's IBM/Microsoft's OLE in MS/IBM OS/2
and MS Windows. We mustn't forget SOM either, must we, and let us not laugh in
their faces with the Corba standardization discussions, either ... or DCE

Unix dd for transforming data from EBCDIC to ASCII and back ... "a) a
systems interface for defining logical import and export data interfaces, data
transformation rule sets and scripts;"?

could also be:
"b) a metadata database for storing said logical import and export data
interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;"
though in this case the metadata would be the Unix filesystem.

"c) a script processor for utilizing metadata from the metadata database to
control data transformation within said systems interface and movement of said
data into and out of said distribution system; and"
- sh, anyone? pdksh? tcsh? Bash? JCL? batch files fathered upon that truly
regretable abortion of a command processor, COMMAND.COM? (MS/PC/DR-DOS only
became tolerable once 4DOS was developed.)

"d) a rule set processor responsive to said script processor for
manipulating a data bag for storing imported data and a data bag for storing
export data."
bang, there goes Codd, Date, Stonebraker and all the rest of the RDBM crew -
ditto for the hapless developers of dBase, Clipper, FoxBase etc. Of course,
dBase was developed originally for CP/M, c. 1970s, so of course it infringes; I
suppose since IBM was developing relational database theory in the seventies,
and Codd published his 12 rules defining a relational database in 1985, I
presume he retrospectively infringes as well.

What a wonderful world we inhabit! Retrospective infringement on Intellectual
Property! Next thing they'll be having retrospective infringement by judges
passing judgement using laws that have been retrospectively invalidated ...
wait, I think they already have decided on that ...

Wesley Parish (not for now logged in ...)

These people have no mercy, and no sense.

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CORBA
Authored by: tdstone4s on Friday, January 11 2008 @ 08:53 AM EST
Isn't CORBA an example of this kind of thing? It's specifically intended to manage data movement between heterogenous systems. CORBA dates from the late '80s, was in heavy use in the early '90s, and continues to be part of the mainstream distributed Java infrastructure as RMI/IIOP.
a) a systems interface for defining logical import and export data interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;
This describes the Object Request Broker Architecture, the IIOP specification, etc.
b) a metadata database for storing said logical import and export data interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;
This describes Interface Definition Language. These were text files, not Relational Database artifacts, but as a whole, the collection of IDL for a system is exactly the database of the metadata describing the interfaces.
c) a script processor for utilizing metadata from the metadata database to control data transformation within said systems interface and movement of said data into and out of said distribution system; and
Virtually all ORB implementations had a generator that would take IDL in, and spit out C or C++ or whatever language environment they supported. Its output included code to act as a client to an object that supported the IDL interface, and code to act as an object that supported the IDL interface. These generators were script processors. The IDL was the script.
d) a rule set processor responsive to said script processor for manipulating a data bag for storing imported data and a data bag for storing export data.
It's not clear to me what this is, but there may be an analog in CORBA world.

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USPTO ? InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 11 2008 @ 09:26 AM EST
What the heck were they thinking in granting this patent? It should have been
vetted by peer to patent first!!!!!!!!

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I think I found it ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 11 2008 @ 04:01 PM EST
http://www.ociweb.com/products/opendds

to whit:
OpenDDS is an open-source C++ implementation of the Object Management Group's
Data Distribution Service for Real-time Systems specification (version 1.0).
OpenDDS implements most of the minimum profile of the Data-Centric
Publish-Subscribe (DCPS) layer of the DDS specification.

DDS provides demanding applications with a high-level, object-oriented
publish-subscribe model while enabling efficient, direct data transfer between
publishers and subscribers. More information about the OMG's DDS specification
can be found at the OMG Data Distribution portal.

OpenDDS is built on the ACE (ADAPTIVE Communication Environment) abstraction
layer to provide platform portability. OpenDDS also leverages capabilities of
TAO (The ACE ORB), such as its IDL compiler and as the basis of the OpenDDS DCPS
Information Repository (DCPSInfoRepo). In addition, OpenDDS leverages MPC to
ease the maintenance burden of supporting multiple build environments and
platforms. For a current list of supported platforms and build environments, see
the OpenDDS FAQ.

==========================================
It seems to me that *this* is everything that the so-called invention from
Juxtacomm describes.

DDS stands for Data Distribution Service and arises from the CORBA standard(s)
and specification(s). You can read more at the Open Management Group´s website:
http://www.omg.org

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InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: 34CFR20USC on Friday, January 11 2008 @ 05:31 PM EST
Everything in that description fits the description of Fidonet, invented by Tom
Jennings in the early 80's.

It is a manner in which the old bulletin board systems exchanged electronic mail
and forum messages back in the day. It also included standards for packaging
the mail, transmitting it from point to point, sorting it into the appropriate
databases on the systems and determining if a message had been sent.

Signed,
1:362/666.0 (Fidonet address, back in the day)
Hotel California (BBS name, back in the day)

---
I am not an attorney. I'm just a lowly researcher who is a law groupie. I
don't offer advice, but I ask a lot of questions.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patent number: 4714995
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 11 2008 @ 09:45 PM EST
Filing date: Sep 13, 1985
Issue date: Dec 22, 1987
Inventors: Anthony T. Materna, Roger A. Vossler, Frank M. Stepczyk
Assignee: TRW Inc.

What is claimed is:

1. In a system for integrating a plurality of host computer systems having
separate and local data bases having different organization and record formats
with at least some items of data being included in more than one of the local
data bases, said data items being designated "shared data items", and
integrating system for ensuring that the values of the shared data items in the
different local data bases are maintained consistent with each other, the
integrating system comprising:

data translator means for translating data items received from any one of
the local data bases for use in any other of the local data bases;
a communications network connecting the computer systems and the data
translator means;
a plurality of update managers, each update manager being in communication
with one of the host computer systems having a local data base, and each update
manager including update capture means for transmitting to the data translator
means over the communications network the values of any changes made by the
update manager associated with the host computer to shared data in that
computer's local data base, and update receiver means for receiving translated
data base changes from the data translator over the communications network;
wherein the data translator means translates data base changes from the data
base organizaiton and record format in which they are received into one or more
other data base organizations and record formats, and transmits the translated
changes over the communications network to each of the host computer local data
bases, thereby ensuring consistency of the separate local data bases without
imposing on any of them a particular data base organization or record format.

2. A system as defined in claim 1, in which: the data translator means includes
a dictionary module for storing the record formats and data base organizations
of the data bases associated with the separate computer systems.

3. An integrating system as defined in claim 1, and further comprising:

query data base means connected to the data translator means for receiving
from data translator an additional replica of common data base items and for
storing said common data; and
query processing means, coupled to the query data base, for receiving and
responding to requests for information from the query data base.

4. An integrating system as defined in claim 1, in which the data translator
means includes:

a communications module for controlling transmission of data over the
communications network;
a dictionary module containing data base organizations and record formats of
the separate data bases; and
one or more transform modules for performing said translations of data base
changes using the information in the dictionary module on the organization and
record format of each of said host computers which is to receive the translated
data base changes;

5. An integrating system as defined in claim 4, in which the data translator
further includes:

an authorization and security module to ensure the integrity of the data
bases; and
a recovery module to ensure consistency of the data bases following an
inadvertent disruption of processing.

6. An integrating system as defined in claim 1, in which the update capture
means includes:

a data server to identify data base updates relating to items of common
data; and
storage means for temporarily storing updates provided by the data server.

7. An integrating system as defined in claim 6, in which:

the data server is interposed between an application program and an
associated data base management system, to identify commands issued to the data
base management system that relate to common data updates.

8. An integrating system as defined in claim 6, in which:

the data server is activated by an application program each time an update
function is performed by the application program.

9. An integrating system as defined in claim 6, in which:

the data server derives update information from a data base management
system associated with an application program that performs updates from time to
time through the data base management system.

10. An integrating system as defined in claim 1, in which:

the update manager transmits updates received from the data translator means
directly to a data base management system.

11. An integrating system as defined in claim 1, in which:

the update manger transmits updates received from the data translator means
into an input queue for an applicaiton, which is then responsible for
transmitting the updates to an associated data base management system.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another Candidate: FileMaker
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 12 2008 @ 04:20 AM EST
In my opinion many of the previous named software applications or network
protocols are part or even the hole base of the patent in question.

But in court the best way is a real close match. So only for the purpose to have
one more alternative to the claims of prior art, I would like to introduce
FileMaker.

Have a look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filemaker

Let's focus on FileMaker Pro 3, available since 1995. Prior to 1997 and for sure
long enough sold.

- heterogeneous computer systems: Was available for MacOS and Windows

- transforming and exchanging data: of course you could import data, transformed
to the filemaker database and the server exchanged them to the clients

- distribution system: There was a "Server" Version available where
the "streight" versions could connect to. As FileMaker in this version
stores data, structure, layouts and scripts in one file, the thing is
distributed on access of the client to the server

- systems interface for defining logical import and export data interfaces: Yes,
you can define via gui (1995!) which database fields of an import (like dbase)
match the fields of the filemaker database. You can export a selection of fields
in various formats. Also offered via gui within FileMaker Pro 3

- data transformation rule sets and scripts: data transformation is done by
selecting one of the default import formats or you can read one line of data
from a file or database and handle transformation that through the scripting
system into random fields and formats of your database.

- a metadata database for storing said logical import and export data
interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts: ScriptMaker which is
supplemented by scripts in other files / databases, various layouts and the
access to database and the database structure through the scripting system.

- a script processor for utilizing metadata from the metadata database to
control data transformation within said systems interface and movement of said
data into and out of said distribution system: All said before. ScriptMaker and
the fact that everything is store in one file and on opening the database /
file from a client the actual and up to date data, structure, scripts and layout
will be accessed or are distributed. You can even add layouts and scripts live.

- a rule set processor responsive to said script processor for manipulating a
data bag for storing imported data and a data bag for storing export data: You
can define scripts for importing and exporting data.

At least, FileMaker Pro 3, from 1995, is in my humble opinion and up to my
knowledge prior art to all point of the patent, at least to most and most
important points to the patent.

But I like to stress out, that I don't look at this as the best piece or way to
encounter the patent. It's just another opportunity to get the thing out of the
way. Nothing more. The the judge has to decide.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UK Coloured Books Scheme
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 12 2008 @ 02:54 PM EST
In 1982, before the internet went fully international, the UK academic community
relied on JANET. This was a network in part (largely?) implemented over X.25
links. Transfer of data was based on the Coloured Book Protocols. Note the
British spelling of coloured. (There was a PC client called RAINBOW.)

Blue Book was file transfer (Grey Book for email). This was fairly sophisticated
with automated support for different modes of transfer. For example files could
be relayed as could job input and output. Both batch jobs and printer requests
could be routed. (VAX/VMS and IBM MVS were popular and still in widespread
use.)

The clever bit, that is relevant, is that Blue Book contained a set of
provisions for transforming between ASCII and EBCDIC, differentiating between
text and binary files; and converting the various formatted file types that were
popular at the time. For example one could send a VBA formatted text file from
an IBM mainframe and get a suitable file on VAX/VMS with the control data
appropriately translated, if my memory serves.

I, unfortunately, cannot say where to get a copy of the specifications. Start
here if interested.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coloured_Book_protocols

http://webarchive.ja.net/

Alternatively, as has been suggested, just reading over the internet FTP RFC may
be enlightening. Also, you may wish to consider the role of the OSI layer model
on this sort of issue.

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, January 13 2008 @ 02:39 PM EST
Anybody ever use a recipe book to cook with ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

InterSystems' Request to Pick Your Brains for Prior Art
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 14 2008 @ 02:13 AM EST
Maybe a different system, something I worked on between 93 and 97.

A physical parameter measuring system (aka: weight, voltage, temperature, etc),
connected to a computer that collects data, transforms it, process it and
displays it.

This type of systems have beeen in existence before 90's, one such system is
LabView (http://www.ni.com/labview/). It shows data from different systems, and
also processes and controls it. Also stores it.

This system show physical data (weight, flow, voltage, temp, etc) in a computer,
with all the data processing behind, but has to me programmed for the
application.


Ivan

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Commodore PET - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 14 2008 @ 08:48 AM EST
W00t!!! Someone's got around to patenting software viruses!!!
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 14 2008 @ 05:18 AM EST
Just a thought - doesn't this describe Melissa, ILOVEYOU, and other such
wonderful software products?

Just think of it, would you:

1. A distribution system for transforming and exchanging data between
heterogeneous computer systems, comprising:

a) a systems interface for defining logical import and export data
interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;
- right - I'm in ur email folder, emailing ur data

b) a metadata database for storing said logical import and export data
interfaces, data transformation rule sets and scripts;
- right - I can see u

c) a script processor for utilizing metadata from the metadata database to
control data transformation within said systems interface and movement of said
data into and out of said distribution system; and
- right - I'm reading ur email contacts

d) a rule set processor responsive to said script processor for manipulating
a data bag for storing imported data and a data bag for storing export data.
- right - leet! W00T! I can has ur Credit-cardz!

Just describe to the judge what an email virus like ILOVEYOU or Melissa did, how
it operates - William Stallings is a good person to ask:
http://williamstallings.com/OS/OS5e.html
and make the judge ask the "plaintiff" the loaded question of why they
bothered to patent the internal logic of software viruses used in the theft of
confidential financial information?

I'm sure said "company" is equally eager to explain such a matter to
the judge.

Wesley Parish (Not logged in at present)

[ Reply to This | # ]

ETL, PERL, RPM, Patents
Authored by: ghopper on Monday, January 14 2008 @ 02:35 PM EST

The most damaging part of this case so far is the fact that Oracle folded already. (For an undisclosed amount... which may have been only $1.)

Much of the patent description is very generic... Did we not already invent the general purpose computer? Are they claiming to have invented ETL, or are them claiming a specific implementation of ETL? I would like to see exactly what they have invented. Did they invent the specification for a software product, or did they actually invent a working software product? (One of the issues with a Software patent is that others are not able to build a working system, even after the patent has expired.)

Anyone with a CS degree should have heard of ASN.1, which is a standard way to interface data between heterogenous systems (since 1982). ETL is an obvious extention of ASN.1, we're just talking about a higher level of data. Before it was called ETL, we were already doing it with CSV and PERL (as noted by other posts). Most of these scripts were not shared with the world, because they were just "glue" between two internal systems.

The fact that ETL had a name at the time when the patent was written implies that others were doing it. "The Evolution of ETL" gives some good history of ETL, but does not give any specific dates. The closest it comes is "In the mid-1990s, vendors ... began shipping ETL tools". Adding automation or a GUI front-end to a previously existing system is hardly a novel idea (nor is that what the patent describes).

On the other hand, we don't need to use database technology to bust the patent. A similar system with better documented dates is the rpm and/or debian package build systems. Sure, you need to accept that source code and programs are just another form of "data", and that compiling is just a complex variation on the "Rule processor", but I don't think that is too big of a leap. Everything fits the diagram on page 1:

  • Import Data Source := Upstream tar.gz source files.
  • Export Data Target := The built rpm files.
  • Script Processor := build-the-world script.
  • Generic Format Data Bags := The tar file, or the extracted sources.
  • Rule Processor := rpmbuild (or equivalent)
  • Metadata := the rpm spec files.
  • Config Mgmt User Interface := bash and cvs

So... does that not fit the model described by the patent? (The real question is whether a jury would think it fits.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another patent troll
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 22 2008 @ 10:07 AM EST
Not being a lawyer I may seem a bit naive, but here goes.

1. It does sound
obvious, one could argue the creating a CSV file and imorting it into a
speadsheet or database is infringing on this overly broad claim.

2. I looked at
their website and noted that the company was allegedly founded on 1998, but the
copyright notice at the bottom of the page is dated 1995-2007. 3 years prior to
the companys' founding. Is this a normal practice or did the company exist in
another form prior?

it really looks like another patent troll looking to cash
in on other people work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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