Patent number 8566949 is assigned to Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba (
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to software components, software component management methods, and software component management systems, and particularly relates to a software component used as a 'component' by various application software programs, a software component management method for managing the software component, and a software component management system for managing the software component.
"In today's form of software development, program segments obtained by dividing an existing software program into appropriate units are often treated as components (hereinafter referred to as software components). By combining a plurality of developed software components, a new software program can be created efficiently.
"At the same time, as the size of software programs increases, the form of software development is shifting from a vertical integration type to horizontal division of work, in which a single software program is often developed by a plurality of companies. Additionally, it has become common to reuse software components to improve development efficiency. Under such circumstances, a software component developed by one company is often provided for use by other companies. To prevent unauthorized use of such a software component by a 'user', it is typically required for an 'administrator' of the software component to put certain restrictions on the use of the software component.
"'Administrator' of a software component is an operator who performs management tasks for the software component. Examples of such management tasks include delivery, use tracking, version control, collection and reporting of information about defects and extension, and support for the application of the software component.
"'User' of a software component is an operator who uses the software component to develop an application software program. Here, an end user who indirectly uses the software component by using the developed application software program is not referred to as 'user' of the software component.
"Unauthorized use of a software component is, for example, use of the software component in systems for unintended clients, leakage of the software component to unintended third parties, or use of the software component beyond the contract period, such as a predetermined operation period or trial period for evaluation purposes.
"Generally, 'user' contracts with 'administrator' for use of the software component. The contract normally prohibits unauthorized use of the software component.
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