Patents on Business-to-Business Software

Index of Selected Patents on Business-to-Business Software

CI Software Solutions' Secure EDI Patent

  • 5,812,669. This is CI Software Solutions' "Method and system for providing secure EDI over an open network" patent, granted on September 22, 1998. CI Software Solutions is an English IT/ data security firm that recently acquired the '669 patent from American firm Peregrine Systems. The patent originated from the Premenos software firm, which developed the TEMPLAR EDI (electronic data exchange) software. The '669 patent was filed by Premenos' chairman Lew Jenkins. Here is the abstract of the '669 patent:

    A method and system for selectively interconnecting a plurality of computers (112,114) over an open public network (120,102,122), such as the INTERNET, provides a private secure computer exchange of EDI interchange communications between a sender computer (112) and a recipient computer (114), each of which has an associated public key and an associated private key, such as in an RSA type cryptographic communication system (100). The associated EDI acknowledgement message, such as the AUTACK, is used to provide secure authentication and non-repudiation of both origin and receipt of the secure private EDI interchange communications transmitted over the open public network (120,102,122) with the AUTACK transmitted from the sender computer (112) being digitally signed with the sender's private key, and with the reply AUTACK transmitted from the recipient computer (114) being digitally signed with the recipient's private key. The respective digitally signed AUTACKs are decrypted after receipt by using the public key associated with the private key used to provide the digital signature. The transmitted AUTACK from the sender computer (112) includes an MD5 for the entire EDI interchange as well as an MD5 of the AUTACK, with the AUTACK, thus, being used to provide the digital signature. The reply AUTACK from the recipient computer (114) includes an MD5 of the reply AUTACK. The ability to conduct business over the network (120,102,122) is controlled by private trading partner agreement communications which provide key certification.

    After acquiring the '669 patent, CI Software Solutions declared their intention of enforcing it. According to a February 11, 2001 IT Week article (referenced below):

    "CI said last week that it will seek to claim license fees from software firms that sell encryption products using the patent, possibly backdated to 1996, when Templar was first launched..."

    "However, Bill Pugsley, chairman of EDI software vendor, Perwill, expressed alarm at the news. 'If CI does try to impose controls, it could stifle the development of B2B trading using the Internet', he said. 'EDI has been around, arguably, since 1967, but for historic reasons it has used private closed networks to send and receive data. ... I would be interested to see how such a patent would apply to the Internet.' "

    "Tom Broadhurst, a solicitor at... Morrison and Foerster, said that the US patent could have implications for European firms. He said that if a sister patent to the US version is found in Europe then CI could begin to claim license fees from European EDI firms."

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