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Apple working on ways for enforcing software licenses


When the success of the Mac App Store, Apple is looking for ways to crack down on software piracy. A new patent (number 20120066135) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office for a method and apparatus for enforcing software licenses.

Some computer software programs use so-called “resource libraries” to provide part of their functionality. There’s usually a license fee required to use a resource library. Under current schemes, it’s not always possible to charge the license fee to all users of a resource library, says Apple. This problem can be understood by comparing software structures that use resource libraries with basic software structures that don’t.

The invention is for a method and apparatus for enforcing software licenses for resource libraries such as an application program interface (API), a toolkit, a framework, a runtime library, a dynamic link library (DLL), an applet (e.g., a Java or ActiveX applet), or any other reusable resource. The resource library can be used by authorized end user software programs. A “per-program” licensing scheme for a resource library can allow a resource library to be licensed only for use with particular software programs.

Blaine Garst and Bertrand Serlet are the inventors.

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