111 F.3d 887 (Fed. Cir. 1997), 96-1258, In re Zurko

Docket Nº:96-1258.
Citation:111 F.3d 887
Party Name:42 U.S.P.Q.2d 1476 In re Mary E. ZURKO, Thomas A. Casey, Jr., Morrie Gasser, Judith S. Hall, Clifford E. Kahn, Andrew H. Mason, Paul D. Sawyer, Leslie R. Kendall, and Steven B. Lipner.
Case Date:April 15, 1997
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
 
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Page 887

111 F.3d 887 (Fed. Cir. 1997)

42 U.S.P.Q.2d 1476

In re Mary E. ZURKO, Thomas A. Casey, Jr., Morrie Gasser,

Judith S. Hall, Clifford E. Kahn, Andrew H. Mason,

Paul D. Sawyer, Leslie R. Kendall, and

Steven B. Lipner.

No. 96-1258.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

April 15, 1997

D.C. Toedt, III, Arnold, White & Durkee, Houston, TX, argued for appellants.

Kenneth R. Corsello, Associate Solicitor, Patent and Trademark Office, Arlington, VA, argued for appellee. With him on the brief were Nancy J. Linck, Solicitor, Albin F. Drost, Deputy Solicitor, and Karen A. Buchanan, Associate Solicitor.

Before ARCHER, Chief Judge, NEWMAN, and MICHEL, Circuit Judges.

ARCHER, Chief Judge.

Applicants Mary E. Zurko et al. appeal from a decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (Board) sustaining the rejection of their U.S. Patent Application No. 07/479,666 (the '666 application) under 35 U.S.C. § 103 (1994), Ex parte Zurko, No. 94-3967 (Bd. Pat. Apps. & Int. Aug. 4, 1995). We reverse.

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BACKGROUND

The '666 application relates to a method for improving security in a computer system. A computer environment or system that has some form of security to prevent unauthorized users and commands is known as a "trusted" environment or system. Generally, "trusted" software or code is used to perform "trusted" commands. Because trusted code is often quite costly to obtain, applicants sought to design a secure system which could operate with untrusted as well as trusted code.

Applicants' claimed method 1 generally involves processing a trusted command with untrusted code and sending that command to the trusted computing environment. The computer system then sends the command back to the user over a trusted pathway to verify the command. The user then sends a signal over the trusted pathway indicating whether the command is correct. If the command is correct, the system carries out the command.

Claims 1, 4, and 5 of the '666 application stand rejected under 35 U.S.C. § 103 based on two pieces of prior art. The primary reference is the UNIX operating system as disclosed in the applicants' information disclosure statement. Applicants described the UNIX system as operating in a "trusted" environment yet able to run some untrusted programs unsecurely. They concluded that "the prior art includes an untrusted program parsing a command and then executing the command by calling a trusted service that executes in a trusted computing environment."

The secondary reference is a program known as Dunford, FILER Version 2.20, (FILER2) also disclosed in applicants' information disclosure statement...

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