News Column

Patent Issued for Implementing Usage Limited Systems

February 20, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventor Hanson, Joe Luther (Pleasanton, CA), filed on June 25, 2004, was published online on February 4, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8646107 is Altera Corporation (San Jose, CA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to implementing usage limited systems. In one example, the present invention relates to methods and apparatus for efficiently implementing both hardware and software based usage limited systems.

"Providers often develop versions of devices, software, and/or platforms that give a user varying levels of access, rights, restrictions, and privileges. For example, a provider may develop a version of device that allows a user to evaluate the device for a certain period of time. After the evaluation period expires, the device is either no longer usable or usable only in a more restricted form. In another example, a provider may develop a version of a software application that allows a user to view particular files but not modify the files. If the user agrees to a license, the user can then have access to additional uses of the software application.

"However, both hardware and software usage restrictions have their limitations. In some instances, hardware usage restrictions are not easily modified and may not always apply to particular systems. Software usage restrictions are often prone to tampering.

"Consequently, it is desirable to provide improved techniques and mechanisms for implementing usage limitations and restrictions."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "Methods and apparatus are provided for implementing a system such as a programmable chip system having hardware and software usage limitations and restrictions. Usage limitation circuitry is integrated onto a device. A usage limitation function is integrated into software, such as an operating system for the device. The usage limitation function can be configured to interact with the usage limitation circuitry. The usage limitation circuitry and the usage limitation function are operable to disable the device and the associated software.

"In one embodiment, a method for generating a usage limited programmable chip system is provided. Usage limit information identifying programmable chip system usage restrictions is provided. Usage limit circuitry is implemented on a programmable chip associated with the programmable chip system. The usage limit circuitry takes usage limit information and integrates usage restrictions onto the programmable chip. Usage limit code is integrated into software for using the programmable chip. The usage limit code takes usage limit information to integrate usage restrictions into software.

"In another embodiment, a programmable chip system is provided. The programmable chip system includes memory, a processor, and a usage limit peripheral. A processor is coupled to memory on a programmable chip. The processor is configured to run under an operating system. The operating system includes usage limit code that provides usage limit restrictions for the operating system. The usage limit peripheral on the programmable chip is coupled to the processor and memory on the programmable chip.

"These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be presented in more detail in the following specification of the invention and the accompanying figures, which illustrate by way of example the principles of the invention."

For additional information on this patent, see: Hanson, Joe Luther. Implementing Usage Limited Systems. U.S. Patent Number 8646107, filed June 25, 2004, and published online on February 4, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Software, Altera Corporation.

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Source: Computer Weekly News

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