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Safe and flexible way to control licensed application usage

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000213887D
Publication Date: 2012-Jan-04
Document File: 3 page(s) / 159K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Controlling the software installation and usage by using encrypted local storage together with a WAN accessible license server.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 51% of the total text.

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Safe and flexible way to control licensed application usage

For many companies it is very important to have a control of what applications are used by the employees so they are compliant to license agreements. On the other hand producers of the software want to be sure that customers do not overuse their products. There are two ways of controlling it:

1. have scanning software which detects all applications installed on the end-user machine

2. application itself prevents its over usage by requiring proper license which has to be provided in a safe way (preventing unauthorized copying) for example by using license server or by tying a license with the user hardware

Above mechanisms have some disadvantages. The first one provides information about installed products but does not allow controlling how they are used. The product may be installed on a few machines by the same person or one machine can be used be more than one user. Or the end user has an application installed but he does not use it, as long as the application is installed it is discovered and counted in the license usage report. The second one allows controlling the usage of the product by the end user, however it requires license client to be incorporated into the application and has high maintenance cost (license servers, obtaining license keys for specified user etc.). Additionally it does not allow reducing the volume of the licenses, which were already provided. We propose to use cloud technology to provide and control the software installation, the licenses usage by the installed applications, together with encrypted local storage, which provides only authorized access to the applications.

Components of the solution:

1. Application Controller - the frontend of the system installed on the end user machine. It consist of two parts:

a. License Manager - it shows the dialog window where user can enter his credentials (user name and password) which are used to request the set of licenses granted to the person. It also allows viewing the licenses, requesting new access, and initiating the software installation

b. License client - connects to the licensing service and gathers all the licenses granted to the user

c. Encrypted storage - it is a repository (location) on a storage device (e.g. hard disk) with encrypted data, where the controlled software is installed. It prevents unauthorized access to the applications

2. License Service - the service in the cloud providing licenses to the end user. It can be controlled by a customer, by a software vendor or by 3rd party service provider. License Service allows managing software, licenses, end users and their permissions to...