Search for P3P/Intermind Prior Art

Joseph M. Reagle Jr. (
Wed, 05 May 1999 08:51:01 -0400

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Date: Tue, 04 May 1999 18:04:43 -0400
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: "Joseph M. Reagle Jr." <>
Subject: Search for P3P/Intermind Prior Art


We've already received numerous emails regarding the search for prior art.
Many have been notes of sympathy, some have been requests to know when the
site is up, and a few already included very useful references/analysis!

First, thanks for your support! Second, the page is up (though it seems most
people are reading from a news story that it is not yet up, or perhaps the
link is too obscure which we will remedy). You can find the details of the
prior-art search at:

I've included the ASCII version below since some of you also asked for ASCII
copies you can forward elsewhere. Thanks again!

[1]W3C P3P and the Intermind patent

WANTED: When did you first see a technology like this?

[2]Intermind has recently received a [3]U.S. Patent, which it has
indicated may be infringed by W3C metadata technologies, including the
[4]Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P). W3C is researching the
strength and applicability of this patent, and is looking for help in
this process.

P3P is designed to keep users informed of sites' privacy practices,
and to ensure that any information sent back to a site is in keeping
with the stated privacy practices of the site. P3P privacy disclosures
and requests for information are expressed in the W3C's widely
deployed [5]Extensible Markup Language (XML). P3P was developed within
a consensus process involving representatives from more than a dozen
W3C member organizations, as well as invited privacy experts from
around the world.

Intermind's patent is entitled "COMPUTER-BASED COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
said that

The essence of Intermind's top claims are that two nodesa sender
and receiver have persistent storage, communicate over a network,
and exchange a control structure defined by metadata (e.g. an XML
file) which describes: 1) how to transfer updated information from
the publisher to the subscriber, 2) how to transfer feedback
information (and updates to that information) from the subscriber
to the publisher, and 3) how to process the exchanged information
by reference to the control structure. In addition, at least the
receiving device must be able to process the metadata using
instructions external to the control structure, i.e. process
instances of a communications object.

"About Intermind's Communications Patents,"

Intermind has also [7]stated that its "patents cover numerous
additional features of communications object systems."

A [8]representative claim of the patent is shown below. A full text of
the patent can be found at:

W3C is looking for information concerning any systems that predate the
Intermind patent and create communications objects or data structures
and transfer them from one machine to another so as to control
communication of feedback information or update information between
machines. Additionally, any information on added functionality related
to protocol selection or control (e.g. HTTP vs. SMTP), encryption,
persistence, distribution (subscriptions, forwarding), and particular
applications such as determining user preferences or form processing
are of interest.

One example of technology of interest would be an ActiveX, JavaScript
or Java object or SGML data structure transferred from a web server to
user agent (such as a browser) that causes the user agent to check a
data repository for specific information and, if the information is
not present, present a form to the user asking for it. After checking
the form for consistency or correctness in accordance with the object
or data structure, the information would be transferred to a URI
contained in the object or data structure.

Relevant Dates

W3C is looking for information showing the state of the art prior to
the earliest possible priority date for the Intermind patent, February
29 1995, or at least before the filing dates of February 29,1996 and
September 27 1996.

If you are aware of any prior art publications, specifications,
software programs, books, systems or any other information about any
technology that performed any of these functions prior to February 29,
1995 (or less desirably, February 29, 1996), please send such
information to [10] and include the following

1. Name of the publication or system
2. Date of the publication or date system was publicly known
3. Where can the publication or system be found (ie. university,
reference library, company, contact person)

Representative claim of the Intermind patent:

Claim 20:

* A computer-based communication system comprising:
* a provider memory storing information including provider
* a consumer memory storing information including consumer
* association means for creating metadata associating portions of
said information and defining a control structure for processing
at least at said consumer memory to associate with said metadata
processes for controlling the communication of said associated
information, said metadata including data exchange metadata
associating a process for controlling the transfer of feedback
information, said feedback information including at least a
portion of said consumer information, to said provider memory;
* transfer means for transferring said information, including said
metadata defining said control structure, from said provider
memory to said consumer memory;
* feedback transfer means for transferring said feedback information
from said consumer memory to said provider memory; and
* processing means for executing instructions external to said
control structure to perform said processes to control
communications of said information.


3. http://http//


I will be in Toronto May 7-14, but I hope to have access to email during
that period.

Joseph Reagle Jr.
Policy Analyst

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