Every Thursday, the US Patent and Trademark Office publishes pending patent applications. Publication has no bearing on whether a patent will eventually be issued based on the application. Still, issued patents and published applications are often indicators of what people have been thinking about and the kinds of things that individuals or companies believe may be useful to them in the future. Assigned to Microsoft, the first application describes ways of installing a black box for trusted component for digital rights management (DRM) on computing device. The second of today's patent addresses secure distribution of subscription-based game software, no assignee given.
20070067645, "Installation of black box for trusted component for digital rights management (DRM) on computing device, assigned to Microsoft.
To install a black box on a computing device, an administrator has access to the computing device and queries same for machine properties thereof. The administrator sends the machine properties of the computing device to a black box server as part of a request for a new black box for the computing device. The black box server in response constructs the new black box based in part on the machine properties so as to tie the new black box to the computing device, and delivers the new black box to the administrator. The administrator thereafter installs the new black box on the computing device. The administrator may include an activation provider running on the computing device and an activation manager in communication with the activation provider. The administrator may also deactivate the black box if it determines that the black box is no longer trustworthy.
20070061588, "Method and system for secure distribution of subscription-based game software," no assignee given.
Methods and Systems for securely distributing software in a subscription-based environment are provided. In an example embodiment, a Game Security Facility ("GSF") associated with a game server is used to manage secure communications with game clients. The GSF typically manages secure communication of the accounting and billing information and secure communication of game session data. In typical operation, the game client generates a pass-phrase that transparently includes a unique identifier of the machine upon which the subscription software will reside. RSA-type key pairs that are then generated using this pass-phrase will be associated uniquely with both the game player and with the machine upon which the software resides, thus preventing unauthorized copying to another machine or unauthorized use by a third party. A public key generated using this pass-phrase is forwarded to the GSF, which uses it to generate a unique one-time random session key (for use as a symmetric key) for each session with the game client. The session key is then encrypted for the game client using the public key of the client. Session data, including the original game files downloaded upon successfully subscribing, are then transmitted between the game server and the game client using encrypted versions of the session key. In one embodiment, the game client can upgrade the machine upon which the subscription data resides, cause the session keys to be reissued using a new public key, and retain access to previously downloaded data.