OT: patenting an old year/date concept, to make millions

From: Jerome Fine <jhfine_at_idirect.com>
Date: Fri Nov 12 18:43:56 1999

>Lawrence LeMay wrote:

> Check outghis article, it appears that somone recently patented the
> idea of using a pivot date, such as 30, and having the computer
> consider numbers below that pivot point as being in the year 20??, ie
> as being from 2000 - 2029. and he's trying to force companies that
> used that programming technique to fix their Y2K problems, to pay him
> millions. 70% of companies supposedly use that concept.
> http://www.startribune.com/viewers/qview/cgi/qview.cgi?template=tech_a&slug=y2k12
> -Lawrence LeMay

Jerome Fine replies:

I guess some people will try anything. I did contract job back in 1998 for a company
who wanted non-Y2K compliant software to use the DATE/TIME chips on a computer
board for a PDP-11 to READ the DATE information and interpret the 2 digit year
correctly. Fortunately, the firmware for the DATE/TIME chips rolled over from "99"
(for the year - kept as a bcd quantity in two four bit hardware registers) to "00". Since
RT-11 (I know - I can't get away from it) has 1973 as the earliest legal date, I wrote
the software to assume that any year value less than "70" was after 1999. In addition,
back in 1993 or maybe as late as 1994, I patched the code for the actual RT-11 OS
(V5.6 of RT-11) to do the same thing. This was not the standard that was finally
adopted for V5.7 of RT-11 wherein any date after 1999 was required to specify a
four digit year, but it is very obvious that many other people were already using the
concept of a pivot date long before 1998. I also modified some software for a
company that makes cars (you know those big hunks of metal with four wheels
and a nut in the front seat) - I think that was delivered in 1997 and those patches
also used a pivot date concept. So I doubt that it will take much to prove that the
granting the patent was "inappropriate".

Anyone else have any stories about using a pivot date some time ago!

Sincerely yours,

Jerome Fine
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