Apple, Others, Hit with Remote App Activation Patent Infringement Suit

Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and several other companies were hit with a patent infringement suit on Monday by BetaNet for violating a patent it owns. The case alleges the companies are violating a patent that describes a process for securely activating software remotely, according to The Loop.

The suit claimed the technology the companies are using to activate or authorize applications and data files falls within the scope of its patent from June 1993.

The patent describes a process where "the program file contains a first executive control program, representing a limited version of the program file. License transaction information is entered in the registration shell portion, and that information is transmitted from the registration shell to a separate registration program provided in a registration computer. The registration program merges the license transaction information with a second executive control program -- representing a complete version of the program file -- to generate a unique overlay file. The unique overlay file is transmitted from the registration program to the registration shell, and contains the second executive control program. The overlay file is installed in the main program file, thereby allowing complete operation of the program file."

BetaNet listed iTunes, Aperture, MobileMe and QuickTime as examples of Apple applications that infringe on the patent. The suit also named Autodesk, Corel, Eastman Kodak, IBM, McAfee, Oracle, Siemens, Sony Creative Sofware, and more.

The case was filed in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas, which is a favorite among companies suing for patent infringement because of the court's tendency to be sympathetic to alleged patent holders.