Browse Prior Art Database

Improved Computer Memory Chip

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000118215D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 105K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Ling, CJ: AUTHOR

Abstract

The primary problem which this disclosure solves is that of specific identification of memory chips.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 51% of the total text.

Improved Computer Memory Chip

      The primary problem which this disclosure solves is that of
specific identification of memory chips.

      In many countries, there have been many occurrences of theft
of computer memory chips.  Usually, just the memory chips are stolen,
leaving behind the computer.  The computer is frequently damaged, or
at a minimum, non-functional after the theft.  The memory chips only
are stolen because they are small, easily handled and easily stored
in large numbers.  They are also of a small size to be passed on,
frequently illegally.  With the increasing use of operating systems
with graphical user interfaces and many other added functions, the
memory requirements for desktop and laptop computers have increased
dramatically.  At the same time, as some of the developments which
resulted in this dramatic increase in worldwide requirements for
memory, an earthquake in Japan resulted in a reduction in the supply
of memory chips.

      With most law enforcement investigations, one of the most
difficult aspects can be identifying the goods as stolen.  The person
who is found with the goods will likely claim that they have been
acquired legitimately or that they do not know where they came from.
Unless the owner of the stolen goods can be identified, there may be
difficulty in bringing criminal charges against those people found
with the stolen goods.

      Unique identifier: This disclosure proposes providing each
memory chip with a unique identifier by means of additional memory
locations within the chip.  This needs to be achieved without
disruption to the normal function of the memory chip.  The improved
memory chip needs to be compatible with existing memory chips.  This
means that it must not have additional connection pins to the
computer in which it is located.  It must also respond fully to all
of the addresses which a normal memory chip will respond to.

      This can be done by means of additional memory locations
accessed by, for example, applying a higher voltage to a given pin of
the memory chip, for example, a Chip Select pin, such as found on all
memory chips.  Typically, this might be by the application of +12v to
a memory chip which normally operates on +5v.  Each device needs to
have a unique identifier programmed into it.  The unique identifier
may then be used to provide the traceability of the chip.

      On purchase of new memory chips, either contained within a
Personal Computer (PC) or purchased as an upgrade component,
purchasers are given a label with the unique identification number on
it.  This needs to be stored in a safe place separate from the
computer or memory  chips, and in the event that the memory chips or
the computer are later  stolen will provide proof of ownership of the
computer.

      Reading the unique identifier: The unique identifier is
initially read using a small piece of dedicated hardware having a
socket which the memory...