September – Patent 4
Internet-based service for updating a programmable control device
Advice on the reading of patent specifications:
- The decisive element are the claims, as they specify which actions are forbidden within the framework
of the patent.
- Violating one single claim is sufficient to be considered a patent violation. Generally,
claim number 1 is the decisive main claim which covers all other
claims relating to special cases.
- The description is intended to help the reader interpret the claim. At the same
time, it is supposed to document and disclose the details of the
invention. This disclosure is the original purpose of the entire
- In practice, a patent specification contains no detailed information on how the patented procedure could be implemented (even if the patent
owner allowed the implementation). In particular, a software
patent contains no program code (reference implementation), but
merely describes the idea of a software.
Patented idea: Download of a device driver from the Internet which is proper for
the utilisation situation.
Main claim: A control device (for ex. a PC) with a graphic user interface
downloads a device driver from the Internet which corresponds to a
parameter (geographical position, time of day, time of year, user
profile, device inventory).
- Transmission of simultaneous controls to the device.
- Driver as editable code.
- Interactive selection of device.
- Computer program which implements the patented method.
- Control device (for ex. PC with software) which implements the
Description: The patent specifications document
- the fact that in the field of consumer electronics there are used
evermore complex devices which require evermore sophisticated
- the fact that the programmable remote controls with graphic user
interface (= standard PC in the case of a remote control) are
already available on the market and
- the fact that the reloading of different device drivers improves
the universal field of application of the remote control.
In spite of the fact that the description is mostly about a remote
control, the patent claims refer in general to a "control device" – thus especially to a standard PC which controls its peripheral
devices by means of drivers.
Everyday life paralel: A new machine was delivered to a factory. The specialist ("control device") responsible for the machine asks the producer of the machine
detailed questions on the phone. He describes the modality ("user profile") in which the new machine has to be used and receives ("download from the internet") an utilisation instruction ("driver") which corresponds to the relevant situation.
Examples for patent infringements: Many devices which are controlled by a PC (for ex. printer) are
delivered with a driver with graphic user interface which one can
also download in the proper form (for ex. in different languages)
from the internet.