Article One Targets Patent Owned by Acacia Research

One of the newer prior art research studies currently underway at Article One Partners is one that relates to U.S. Patent No. 6,332,158, which relates to a system that assists user’s in selecting desired domains.  See Intelligent Domain Name Lookup #1802.  This study is of particular interest because the patent in question is owned by a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation, which is one of the largest and most powerful of the patent assertion entities (PAE) in the industry today.

Indeed, Acacia reportedly maintains upwards of 100 patent portfolios and aggressively pursues licenses for its own technologies.  It is also a publicly traded company, so the industry has far more information about Acacia that with respect to virtually any other PAE. For some of my writings on Acacia please see Mother of All Patent Trolls and Acacia Research by the Numbers: Inside the Belly of the Beast.  From what I know about Acacia it seems to me that they have found a very lucrative niche and execute quite well. They seem to acquire solid patents and patent portfolios and they are quite adept at monetization.

Of course, in this industry one man’s well operated company is another man’s patent troll.  While it is entirely possible that they have acquired a patent that could be invalidated in litigation or in other forums, it seems unlikely to me that they would purchase a patent or patent portfolio without engaging in reasonable due diligence.  That doesn’t mean, however, that the search for prior art will be futile.  It just means that Article One is going to need the assistance of everyone who is at all knowledgeable about the industry and technology field.  So if you know of prior art or have some time to hunt I suspect your input in this search could be quite valuable.

In any event, the technology in question in the Acacia owned patent is a domain name lookup system and associated method.  In the method a domain name query is sent from a resolver process when the user wishes to obtain information. If the domain name exists, the domain name server provides the corresponding machine address back to the user’s computer. However, when the domain name query uses a non-existent domain name then a machine address for a computer that executes a domain recommendation engine is provided. The domain recommendation engine assists the user in locating a desired domain name.

Claim 1 of the patent covers the following:

A method for handling invalid domain name lookup requests in the Internet, the method executing in a domain name server system responsive to a target domain name request by a user computer, wherein the user computer is coupled to a display screen, the method comprising the following steps executed in the domain name server system

receiving a target domain name lookup from a user computer;

searching a master lookup table to determine a machine address associated with the domain name;

determining that the target domain name does not exist within the lookup table;

transmitting a machine address to the user computer, wherein the machine address maps to a web server;

receiving a machine address request from the user computer based on the target domain name transmitted machine address to the user computer;

in response to the received machine address, sending information to the user computer to assist in that user’s selection of a most likely domain name that assumes a misspelling of the target domain name; and

displaying an advertisement on the user computer’s display screen.

Other claims of interest in the hunt for prior art include claims 2, 8, 10, 11, 12, and 22.  Prior art should be dated from on or before December 2, 1998, but preference will be given to prior art from on or before May 1, 1998.  So if you know of any prior art relating to this domain name server assist technology study Article One Partners is ready to pay you up to $5,000.

In addition to the previously mentioned Acacia Patent Study, Article One Partners currently has 49 open and active Studies.  Some that may be of particular interest may include those that follow.  To participate as a researcher to submit prior art to these or any other AOP study you can register by visiting Article One Researcher Overview.

User interface system based on pointing device

This Study relates generally to remote control devices.   More specifically, the study is associated with EP 1 573 498, which relates to a system for an electrical apparatus having a camera, an electromagnetic beacon for device location information, and a digital signal processor associated with remote control devices.  The patent describes the user interaction system as comprising an electrical apparatus; a portable pointing device operable by a user for pointing to a region in space; a camera taking a picture; and a digital signal processor, capable of receiving and processing the picture, and capable of transmitting user interface information derived from the picture to the electrical apparatus wherein the camera is connected to the pointing device so that in operation it images the region pointed to.

Controlling the Movement of a Virtual Body

This Study relates generally to 3-D systems, virtual reality systems or virtual body systems.  More specifically, the study is associated with EP 0 808 484, which relates to a method and apparatus for controlling the movement of a virtual body.  Of particular interest is prior art that relates to claim 1 of the patent.  Claim 1 covers a virtual body modeling apparatus that generates and animates a representation of a body in a virtual environment under user direction.  The modeling apparatus is comprised of a first data store, holding data defining the virtual environment; a second data store, holding data related to features of the virtual body representation; means for detecting and monitoring movement of the user in a physical environment ; and processing means arranged to generate a representation of the virtual environment based on data from the first data store, to generate the body representation within the virtual environment based on data from the second data store, and to periodically modify the generated body representation in response to signals received from the user motion detection means.

Systems for Transmitting Enciphered Data

This Study relates to a sequence of pseudorandom key values generated from a seed value known to both a transmitter and a receiver. More specifically, the study is associated with U.S. Patent No. 5,412,730, which covers an encrypted data transmission system employing means for randomly altering encryption keys.  Of particular interest is prior art that relates to a method for transmitting data comprising a sequence of blocks in encrypted form over a communication link from a transmitter to a receiver.  The method is comprised of providing a seed value to both said transmitter and receiver; generating a first sequence of pseudo-random key values based on said seed value at said transmitter, each new key value in said sequence being produced at a time dependent upon a predetermined characteristic of the data being transmitted over said link; encrypting the data sent over said link at said transmitter in accordance with said first sequence; generating a second sequence of pseudo-random key values based on said seed value at said receiver, each new key value in said sequence being produced at a time dependent upon said predetermined characteristic of said data transmitted over said link such that said first and second sequences are identical to one another a new one of said key values in said first and said second sequences being produced each time a predetermined number of said blocks are transmitted over said link; and decrypting the data sent over said link at said receiver in accordance with said second sequence.

Also related to this search is Encrypted Data Transmission System



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Join the Discussion

2 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for Roland]
    October 15, 2012 10:29 am

    Interesting, two research studies/patents to monitor.

    The first research study relating to U.S. Patent No. 6,332,158, covers an aspect of internet behaviour we now take for granted, namely the intelligent assistance given to end user when a specified domain name lookup fails. This patent has history, firstly it ‘breaks’ the intended correct operation of the Internet DNS service (namely when a DNS server name lookup fails it is the responsibility of the client to handle – the patented method assumes the client is a web browser and hence an end user will be able to determine that the ‘helpful’ assistance page they see isn’t the one they were actually trying to browse) and hence was subject investigation and discussions by ICAAN is the years just after publication. Acacia acquired this patent in August 2011 and subsequently filed six lawsuits [source: ] – so someone thought that this patent was sufficiently commercially valuable to pay the third maintenance fee. Additionally, just to add spice to the potential legal proceedings, Verisign were finally awarded a patent (US 7,337,910) in 2008 for a related/overlapping innovation that was filed in 2001.

    The second is the research study relating to the now expired US patent No. 5,412,730. Firstly, there is obviously something major bubbling out of general sight on this. Also I suspect from when it was filed and who was using this level of encipherment at the time, much of the prior art will be classified and/or trade secret …

    What I like, as a practitioner, about both of these patents is that they are well written (5,412,730 even includes source code!) and as such easily satisfy the dissemination of knowledge objective.

  • [Avatar for American Cowboy]
    American Cowboy
    October 8, 2012 05:04 pm

    If the claimed invention would have been obvious to those of ordinary skill (such as the alleged infringer), why does the alleged infringer have to go to such lengths to find the prior art that proves it so?