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Wireless Networking Patents The Internet Hardware Your Rights Online

Another Hotspot Redirect Patent Collection Attempt 154

Glenn Fleishman writes "Acacia Technologies is turning its sights from collecting streaming media patent fees to Wi-Fi hotspot gateway redirection, we report at Wi-Fi Networking News. The company acquired a patent that they say covers the use of technology that redirects a login attempt by an unauthenticated user to a login gateway page. They want a minimum of $1,000 per quarter in royalties. Nomadix already claims a patent on this, while we quote an early Wayport executive who says that Wayport has prior art on it. Will community hotspots using NoCatAuth fall under this patent-enforcement attempt? Too early to tell."
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Another Hotspot Redirect Patent Collection Attempt

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  • Possible loop-hole? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by powerpuffgirls ( 758362 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:11PM (#10446634)
    The rerouted IP address provides content to the user machine in which at least a majority of the content is different from that expected to be obtained by the user machine

    How about showing the requested page as is (for example google.com goes to google's homepage) but with a DHTML overlay or framing to indicate this is the only page to go until the user's properly authenticated?
  • Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:12PM (#10446643)
    Patent law with respect to software will ultimately be reformed when a lot more sticky situations like this are created and people get so fed up with the whole thing that they say fuck it and decide to disregard all software patents.
    • by erick99 ( 743982 ) <homerun@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:24PM (#10446713)
      Especially when you get two packets in the mail from two companies, both claiming to own this "redirect" patent. What do you do? I can't see people writing two checks. Acacia Technologies and Nomadix are both going to take everyone to court? This reminds me of the protection rackets from the early 1900's - you could end up paying multiple parties. In this case, the protection money/royalties, keep you out of court.
    • Re:Nothing new (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is a good point. If this continues and starts to ramp up, it's really going to make software development and deployment completely infeasible. It will inevitably piss off enough corporations that something will happen.
      • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

        by suckmysav ( 763172 ) <suckmysav@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @10:20PM (#10447349) Journal

        "If this continues and starts to ramp up, it's really going to make software development and deployment completely infeasible. It will inevitably piss off enough corporations that something will happen."

        Actually, the really big corporations like this sort of patent fiasco. In fact they were the ones who lobbied for it in the first place.

        Big companies can afford to lodge thousands and thousands of patents every year, small ones can't. From the perspective of the three or four major incumbants in the IT industry (Microsoft, Cisco, IBM) this becomes the corporate equivalent of the nuclear arms race. They all hold thousands of patents which they can use to smackdown any small startups that come along and they all have an unwritten agreement that they won't use their patents against each other, because they know that their opponent will countersue them using their own patent portfolio.

        It backfires on them occasionally when a small startup patents an idea and it gets under the radar but usually all they have to do then is buy out the startup and they are back to square one.

        The primary use of software patents is the suppression of new players in the market place, and you will note that the three big players in the patent arena do not directly compete with one another, they may have some small product overlaps at best.

        • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Informative)

          by Flyboy Connor ( 741764 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2004 @04:30AM (#10448735)
          They all have an unwritten agreement that they won't use their patents against each other

          Not unwritten. It is called cross-licensing. Basically, they allow each other unlimited, royalty-free access to all their patents.

          It backfires on them occasionally when a small startup patents an idea and it gets under the radar but usually all they have to do then is buy out the startup and they are back to square one.

          No, it backfires when a litigation company, consisting only of lawyers, acquires a patent they violate. They cannot offer cross-licensing, because the litigation company does not need any patents since it doesn't produce anything. It is only interested in money. And it doesn't want just a tip, usually it goes for something like 10% of the profits.

          The rest of your text is accurate.

        • Sadly, however (Score:3, Interesting)

          by IBitOBear ( 410965 )
          The patent system the big companies built up pivots vitally uppon the presupposition that they will be fighting other big companies. The game requires that the big players hold out the little players completely while going into their own Deadlock ("Deadly Embrace" etc) to steal a computer term, with their acknowledged rivals. The Big X companies depend on being able to cross licence amidst themselves.

          This falls apart completely in the face of an "IP Holding Company."

          When you face a company that has pate
    • Sensible people already have..

      Best to ignore patents, otherwise you get triple damages because you knew about them.
  • Seriously, There patening a script that is used already by other projects. What's next? companies are going to patent an access is denied pages for failed logins?
  • by Phil Karn ( 14620 ) <karn&ka9q,net> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:15PM (#10446659) Homepage
    Maybe this isn't so bad after all. One of the few pluses to patents is the way they sometimes keep people from using really bad ideas that they should be prevented from using. This is a good example.
    • by sploo22 ( 748838 ) <dwahler.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:17PM (#10446677)
      How so? I don't see why having to register to access a free hotspot is so horrible. If you have to provide a valid email address, it provides at least a minimum amount of accountability in case the service is abused. And it really doesn't cost you any more than 5 minutes.

      I think this is just another example of people feeling entitled to the unlimited charity of others.
      • Sorry, you (parent and gp) BOTH missed the point... If you try to use a hotspot without having proper access info, you would be redirected to, say, a login page, describing what to do. That's reasonsable behaviour for a freely-accessible hotspot. Otherwise you'd need signs posted near the spot, etc.

        Only now, TWO companies are claiming patents to this trivial fscking idea. One of which bought the idea from some other company!
        • This is exactly what I use NoCatAuth for. I run an open .1g access point, accessible to anyone on my street. It doesn't require a login, just a correct configuration to gain access to the internet. If the user just connects and isn't configured correctly, and they are using a browser (most are), then they'll see a welcome page in 3 languages telling them what they have to change to have access. It also links to a statistics page, and other information about my network.

          I like KA9Q's suggestion for a new res
      • If you have to provide a valid email address, it provides at least a minimum amount of accountability in case the service is abused.
        This sucks because it's a guilty-until-proven-innocent measure. Providing your email address can only be used to harm you. (by false accusation) Furthermore this idea of finding the bad guy by process of elimination is counter to the principles of a free society, and stinks of a police state.

        -- Bob

        • This sucks because it's a guilty-until-proven-innocent measure.

          It's the same as having a license plate on your car. Imagine the amount of hit and runs if you were anonymous when you drive your car?

          At least we can track down kiddie porn assholes with measures like this.
          • You can solve ALL crime problems by the process of elimination and assuming everyone is guilty. That system is called a police state. It is a balance between power of the government and power of the people. If the government (or for that matter a large enough private company) has all this info, the people have no power to oppose it, because one crime they can prevent is dissent. No organization (government or private) will always have your best interests at heart (and in fact none of them do). Collecti
            • Well here's an experiment for you. Go take your car down a remote logging road, and leave it there. See how long it lasts before it's stripped down. And you'd be surprised in who actually stripped your car down.

              Problem is that complete anonymity results in lack of responsibility.

              I'm a big fan of privacy, but I'm also a fan of responsibility, and sometimes the line between the two is a bit fuzzy.
            • You can solve ALL crime problems by the process of elimination and assuming everyone is guilty. That system is called a police state.

              This is a popular rhetorical device among those defending civil liberties because it seems so obviously true. But it's not. Repressive police states are actually quite effective in promoting terrorism as a response. It's both unnecessary and counterproductive in a truly free country.

              Of course, whenever the US government fights some other repressive government, our leader

            • There are other ways to find the perverts without making the rest of us live in a police state.

              and these are? My feeble mind cannot think of any that would not inflict at least some level of 'police state' upon everyone else. I think it's a matter of what level of authority you are willing to permit. My idea of a true police state is one where there are no legal means of questioning and debating, publicly, the means in which you are policed.
          • Yeah, personally though when I'm browsing kiddieporn at open wifi spots and they ask for my email, I use cpiliotis@shaw.ca
      • by Phil Karn ( 14620 ) <karn&ka9q,net> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @09:41PM (#10447091) Homepage
        You misunderstand me. I wasn't objecting to having to register to use somebody else's hotspot. That's fair enough. I only object to the kludge "taught" (that's a patent term) by this particular set of patents. It's an ugly hack, a violation of the end-to-end principle, and a terrible abuse of the Internet protocols akin to Verisign's deservedly maligned Site Finder "service". It's bad for almost the exact same reasons that Site Finder is bad. Its only saving grace is that it only afflicts the users of a given wireless service and not the whole Internet.

        What if my web browser is configured to use a proxy? What if my home page requires SSL? (Both are true for me). What if my browser doesn't properly implement caching, so the login pages come back up after I have already signed in? And suppose I don't even want to use the web, but just fetch mail or run an rsync command. I happen to be knowledgeable enough about this particular hack to manually disable my proxy and surf to a non-SSL webpage to get properly redirected, but what about your average non-technical user?

        That's why I say it wouldn't be such a bad thing if these patents steered public IP wireless providers away from implementing this particular brain-dead hack and towards an authentication mechanism designed specifically for the job. 802.1x is the obvious alternative, but it's not the only one. IANA could reserve an IP anycast address and associated domain name specifically for authenticating yourself to a public wireless network with a standard web browser. Because you're not hijacking a request to some other web object, many of the architectural problems mentioned earlier disappear. If you know you'll use such a network, you just create a bookmark for that special domain name and put it in your browser's list of sites not to be reached through your proxy. Simple and clean, even if it still requires a web browser.

        • Ah, I see what you mean now. Sorry about the mix-up. :) I hadn't really thought about it that way.
      • Do you think anyone who is planning to do something wrong will give out any e-amil address that can be connected to him/her? Maybe they'll use yours! I think such authentication redirects are worthless for preventing or tracing any potential misuse of free wireless access points. If those who use this redirect authentication have to pay royalties for that, they'll probably just forget about redirection in the first place or guard the access with a genuine password login..
      • "Registering" for hotspot access makes no one accountable; it's just a hassle.

        Quick public email accounts [mailinator.net] for email validation are free and unaccountable (even moreso if you went through a non-logging proxy first).

        --

    • Just because you can't think of a good use for it doesn't necessarily make it a bad idea..

      It's not only used in conjunction with Wi-Fi either, I have seen this implemented in many hotels for in room high-speed net access. Most large companies that offer net access don't have the luxury of being able to just toss an access point out there and saying 'go nuts', they do have to have some level of accountability.
    • The school I attend is using exactly this method instead of something more convenient for regular users, like MAC registration. I know there are reasons for doing this, but it's pretty ridiculous that you have to re-authenticate if you've gone out of the network's radar for three minutes. "They" say this is for security purposes, but your security on an unencrypted wireless network is pretty much nonexistent...

      So I did what any BOFH would do. I e-mailed Acacia and informed them that there was a certain
  • Patent Prerequisites (Score:3, Interesting)

    by XsynackX ( 775111 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:17PM (#10446680)
    Isn't one of the prerequisites for a patent that the new idea must be "non-obvious to someone in the industry" or something to that effect?

    I mean, come on, this patent is on something so ridiculously simple and obvious, how could it even have been approved in the first place?

    • ....how could it even have been approved in the first place?
      1. 90% of USPTO examiners are stupid fscks.
      2. The 10% who know what they're doing are chronically underfunded and overworked by the corporate-run government.
    • Yeah, and there are other things that are supposed to disqualify a patent application, such as natural law, physical phenomenon, and abstract ideas.

      But there is a matter of rethoric and the inability of a patent examiner to know the difference, so they only qualify whether or not the paperwork, filled with abstractions, passes paperwork abstraction tests. Of course leaving up to the courts to decide, should such a patent go to court or be challenged by an outside party thru the patent office.

      The foundatio
    • Yeah, this is pretty stupid. A year or two ago we actually spent some time developing a system to do exactly that (it ended up not being used) but the basic idea went from zero to full in an afternoon or so, and all that was left was the technical and design details. I mean, if you want to control access to an otherwise public hotspot, what else are you going to do without requiring stupid client programs to be installed on everyone's laptop first?

      That's the main thing that's always bugged me about pate

    • Isn't one of the prerequisites for a patent that the new idea must be "non-obvious to someone in the industry" or something to that effect?

      I mean, come on, this patent is on something so ridiculously simple and obvious, how could it even have been approved in the first place?

      Mostly because it was non-obvious to someone in the US Patent Office. This is a manifestation of the trend of trusting industries to police themselves. Sure, when it works it's better than regulation, but when it doesn't...

    • Wikipedia had this on their front page today. The test is that the invention could not be invented by a "Person having ordinary skill in the art" [wikipedia.org]. Which is essentially what you said.
      • Those damn dot coms are the cause of all of this then :-).

        All the stupid idiots that never should have been allowed to program in the first place, but which flocked to the easy money in droves and are now out of work have lowered the level of the "person of ordinary skill in the art" of software to that of a rhesus monkey.

        Of course no new software inventions are regarded as "obvious".

  • What about NetReg? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NtroP ( 649992 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:19PM (#10446686)
    Hell, we have a perl script http://sourceforge.net/projects/netreg/ [sourceforge.net] that does that on our network - will they be comming after us next?
  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) <homerun@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:21PM (#10446691)
    This guy must be a ton of fun at children's parties....

    We have $30 million in the bank and we have the resources to enforce the patent as necessary," Berman said.

    "Those who license earlier on get the best deals," Berman said.

    "The user has recurring revenue, the manufacturer is a one-time sale," said Berman. (cacia chose to approach operators that use products that do redirect rather than offering licenses to manufacturers because it can potentially earn more money from operators.)

    It's all perfectly legal. And it is so much easier to buy patents and sue people than to take, oh, say, $30,000,000 and innovate.

    • "user has recurring revenue"...in other words, keep raping the consumer! What bucket of slime got kicked over to let all of these PARASITES out lately?
    • And it is so much easier to buy patents and sue people than to take, oh, say, $30,000,000 and innovate.


      This is where one inovation is killed not because of it's good or poor worth, but because of legal liabilaty.

      Lots of people may think this is the way to riches. Wrong, It's the way to kill a format or way of doing something.

      Case in point. Happy Birthday.. You don't hear it much anymore. How much royalties has it generated?

      Case in point. GIF You don't see many of them anymore on the web.

      Case in p
      • Case in point. Happy Birthday.. You don't hear it much anymore. How much royalties has it generated?

        Happy Birthday is patented? I hear it every couple of days... it's just as common as ever.

        Case in point. GIF You don't see many of them anymore on the web.

        You're winding us up, right?

        Case in point. SCO Are they rich defending their IP? If they win, will a BSD or other open source replace Linux without the infringement? We are all waiting for SCO to die before they can grow their extortion racket.

        Th
  • by darnok ( 650458 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:23PM (#10446708)
    Surely this is implementation of a business process (i.e. a means of verifying user identity before allowing access) rather than some great breakthrough in software . If so, doesn't that mean it isn't patentable by anyone?
  • by JudgeFurious ( 455868 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:31PM (#10446760)

    A few years back I got a patent on a device for providing light and heat to a small space by means of the ignition of methane gas directed from the posterior of a human being.

    Ok it was stupid but I maintain that it's only marginally more stupid than the patent these morons have and only slightly less likely to survive a challenge.
    • > I got a patent on a device for providing light and
      > heat to a small space by means of the ignition of
      > methane gas directed from the posterior of a human
      > being

      I have to ask - what form does this device take? Is it externally mounted, or ... - on second thoughts, never mind.

      Good luck - I'm looking forward to seeing it in the next Sears catalog.
  • The patent is dated May 1, 2001. The earliest download I can find for NoCatAuth is dated July 12, 2001. [nocat.net] I so believe this patent.
    • yea, but the wayback machine has nocat.net back to 4/01 [archive.org]. downloads included. whether the 'technology' covered by the patent is there or not is something i didn't check. i wonder if discussion about doing something like that is elsewhere on the site (and if discussion would count as prior art)
      • This is great. But you are looking at the grant date (the date the patent was granted). The date you have to ice is the FILING date (1999). I.e. the date they filed their application (protection extends from this date, not the grant date).
    • I remember back in 2000 I was in Malaysia and a hotel there had the wired version... i.e. plug in computer, try to surf anywhere or pop email from anywhere and you get redirected to a page to agree to pay 20RM for a day's access, charged to your room.

      The system was done by an Australian Company iirc.
      (And hence probably dated from prior to 2000)

      You could use usb or ethernet for that one. Adding wireless as another option is clearly trivial! Perhaps that company is the one with the original patent?
  • Nice price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by k98sven ( 324383 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:40PM (#10446804) Journal
    $1,000 a quarter totals $80,000 for 20 years, the duration of any patent.

    That is presumably far less than patent litigation would cost to defend yourself against that patent.

    So, regardless if the patent is valid or not, you're better off paying up.

    Wonderful system, eh?
    • That is presumably far less than patent litigation would cost to defend yourself against that patent.


      Making money with this business model is like projecting how much money can be had by shooting birds on a telephone wire all sitting next to each other. You may nail the first one. After that first shot, the rest of the flock will be hard to find.

      It's like the RIAA suing P-P users. The first shots were easy. The remainder of the flock has taken cover and hiding. It'll be very hard for them to sue 50%
  • Easy to Disprove (Score:2, Insightful)

    by b0lt ( 729408 )
    Easy to disprove. Just give the dated source, with CVS log. NoCatAuth existed far before the claimed date.
    • Re:Easy to Disprove (Score:3, Interesting)

      by suckmysav ( 763172 )

      " Easy to disprove. Just give the dated source, with CVS log. NoCatAuth existed far before the claimed date."

      The problem is that you still need to engage lawyers and the courts and the patent holder will do their damnedest to hold out and rack up the costs as long as possible (See SCO vs World for more info)

      The end result is that the small company may decide that it is cheaper to simply cough up than to get embroiled in a drawn out legal stoush.

      Repost from another post follows;

      Perhaps a solution

  • by jonathan_95060 ( 69789 ) * on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:48PM (#10446842)
    for a good laugh visit my girlfriend, PHOSITA [wikipedia.org] . Can anyone tell me when the USPTO killed PHOSITA? Was it when software patents were admitted? Technically Phosita is still on the books but we all know that she is dead...
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @09:15PM (#10446975)
    There is prior art in the forced proxy authentication in the Whistle InterJet, circa 1997/1998, prior to the purchase of the company by IBM.

    -- Terry (former Whistle Communications and IBM employee)
  • Prior Art? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by adamsc ( 985 )
    Southwestern's NetReg system was presented at multiple academic conferences in 1999 but the earliest references I found were in June - if they can prove it was in production in January it might be useful: http://southwestern.edu/ITS/netreg/
    • Anyone moderating "Redundant" might want to follow the link I posted where they would learn that the Southwestern netreg is different than the CMU netreg.
  • How about ending the patentability of improving on original ideas. That would basically end the practice of patenting a "Method for using standard ip protocols and authentication systems to do XXXXX in order to make money."

    NO MORE BUSINESS MODEL PATENTS. A patent should have to be an actual invention that works.
    • bad idea. If I make an engine that burns fuel 100% clean, I'd be SOL. no thanks.
      Better idea is to patent physical objects, copyright software, and keep processes/ideas trade secret.
      • Sounds like you've bought into the 'small inventor' myth.

        If you make an engine that burns fuel 100% clean, patent it, the first company that sees the patent will take the idea off you and for good measure probable sue you for breaking some obscure patent of their own.

        Unless you've got a ton of cash you won't be able to defend the patent and you're SOL (a good patent lawyer will in fact tell you this. Patents are not for those who can't afford to defend them).

        If you don't patent it of course, then you ca
  • The patent covers a system that changes the destination field the packet. What if your system doesn't do that. I use NoCat on FreeBSD and the rule the does the "redirection" does it with IPFW fwd, man ipfw(8) [freebsd.org], which does not modify the packet in any way, specifically modifying the destination field. It seems to me that such a system is not covered by the claims of this patent. By the way, I got one of this "Licensing Materials" packets today. So nice of them to provide such a nicely arranged extortion
  • Will the general consumer and hobbyist care if some company they've never heard of say they can't do this? Linux isn't burning down due to SCO, neither will stuff like NoCatAuth.

    Don't expect T-Mobile and other companies that do this to take this lieing down. Hopefully they'll jack up their prices so more fight it.
  • by wotevah ( 620758 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @10:05PM (#10447231) Journal

    I know Colubris makes some Wi-Fi access points that redirect unauthenticated traffic to another site for login.

    This document [216.239.57.104] seems to suggest that they have been in production at least since 2000, which is earlier than the patent date (2001).

  • I was setting up a WAP at home and wanted users to get a warning page before they started using it to access the internet, so I went online to search for a solution and found NoCatAuth. I wasn't aware of any solutions which existed to provide the functionality but it seems like an obvious solution and was sure someone had come up with something like it.

    I can see how some software/technology patents might be truly innovative, but if in order to protect those really unique groundbreaking ideas we have to all
    • The cost to society could well be the end of 'freelance' programming completely.

      Is it worth it? No way.

      Software doesn't *need* patent protection. If I make a piece of software that does something cool, assuming I keep the source nobody can see it anyway. If it's sufficiently obvious that someone else implements it the next week then tough - it was obvious. Deal with it.

      If it isn't obvious, then someone is going to have to work damned hard to replicate it and they deserve their reward too.

      If they do
  • Don't worry about this crap patent - a fat bastard crap patent! Yeah, baby yeah!

    Pardon, couldn't resist - I'm watching Austin Powers on TV...

    Seriously, the place I'm working with has been doing that since 1996.

  • Nuff sed.
  • How many companies have patented the same thing, possibly within the same time frame. Would it go far to show how terribly broken the patent system is if 10+ companies all turn out to have the exact same dumb patent, and then have to bicker over whose is valid?
  • The patent seems to refer to preventing access based on the destination of the intended communication. It also only refers to access to the internet, and seems to explicitly exclude controlling access to the local intranet.

    If all you want to do is control access to your wifi hostpot generally, then all you have to do is control access based on the SOURCE address, not the DESTINATION address.... In other words, ALL communication from an unknown MAC address is redirected to an authentication server, period. Once a machine is authenticated, then you can allow access generally.

    This would, I think get around this patent. It's also the way that I would tend to approach this whole problem anyways. I haven't seen the other patent (yet), so I have no idea if this idea infringes on that one.

    • Given that we now have at least two companies which have submitted substantially similar applications within a year of each other, it might be a pretty good sign that the only thing not obvious to most developers is the idea patenting something so stupidly obvious.
      • Funny, huh? I thought I was actually being serious with my comment, but now that I look back at it, I guess that a little bit of sarcasm leaked thru -- but I really do think that that might be a very real legal argument. The original intent of the patent system was to document ideas so that they were available to the public -- Ideas that, were it not for the patent system, would not have otherwise been thought up.

        We now have at least two patent applications and one academic papers (or is that two [slashdot.org]?) on

    • In other words, ALL communication from an unknown MAC address is redirected to an authentication server, period. Once a machine is authenticated, then you can allow access generally.

      easier yet, give the famous no access error page or another error page with a gigantic link in the middle that simply says, "to log in click here."

      no redirection involved. you are using standard error pages out of the proxy server.

      there are so many ways around this patent it's funny.

  • Clearly Unjust (Score:2, Insightful)

    This sort of targetting of software users (the users in this case being Wi-Fi hotspot providers) is clearly unjust. It is one of the worst things about software patents.

    A computer user, who needs a solution to a problem, chooses to use a particular solution that's published, in software-form, by someone else. Isn't that one of the most basic things about software? Isn't that one of the most wonderful things about computers? Surely!

    But then, supposedly in the interests of encouraging and supporting i

  • For the love of God (Score:3, Informative)

    by Why Should I ( 247317 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2004 @02:05AM (#10448322) Homepage
    I thought patents were supposed to be non obvious.

    If I need a way to authenticate someone on a gateway I redirect them to the login page. This is pretty much the most obvious approach to the problem.

    Patented they say.

    * spits in disgust *
  • Actually right now there is a guy in australia who hold the patent on two different ways to swing on a swing. He used the express method and it got by the reviewers appearantly.
  • Could I patent this process as a business model? Get some money, buy a few trivial patents, and sue anyone who tries to use anything vaguely resembling what I have patented.

    Oh, wait prior art, never mind.
  • 6,438,125 seems like it is earlier than both of those...

    A method and system for redirecting web page requests on a TCP/IP network is described. The method may be performed by a web traffic monitor that intercepts at least a portion of web-based traffic from a client/subscriber on a network.

    this [uspto.gov] seems earlier than both of those...

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