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Software Serial Number

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000047984D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-08
Document File: 1 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Crabtree, RP: AUTHOR

Abstract

It is customary to identify hardware components with unique serial numbers, especially when those components have a significant intrinsic monetary value. The serial number is also useful for identifying a particular production item for quality control and warranty purposes. Serial numbers have also been applied to software products but only in a very limited way. When used, serial numbers have been applied to the packaging materials or the media used to distribute the software and serve only as a distribution logging aid. It has become common to provide a mechanism to allow programs to obtain the serial number of the computer system upon which they are running and adopt it as their own.

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Software Serial Number

It is customary to identify hardware components with unique serial numbers, especially when those components have a significant intrinsic monetary value. The serial number is also useful for identifying a particular production item for quality control and warranty purposes. Serial numbers have also been applied to software products but only in a very limited way. When used, serial numbers have been applied to the packaging materials or the media used to distribute the software and serve only as a distribution logging aid.

It has become common to provide a mechanism to allow programs to obtain the serial number of the computer system upon which they are running and adopt it as their own. Even when this is done, it is usually difficult to determine the history and status of a particular copy of a software product because there is nothing unique about that copy which makes it distinguishable from any other copy of the same product. For licensing purposes as well as quality control and warranty, it is highly desirable to be able to track the software product itself. This problem is overcome by assigning each bona fide copy of a software product, which is distributed from a manufacturer's point of distribution, with a unique serial number which is imbedded in the copy of the product itself and not just stamped on the outside of the distribution package. Preferably, the serial number is protected with check digits, check sums, encryption, or other validation techniques consistent with the value of the product to insure that the number doe...