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Network Associates Wins Metadata Patent

Security software maker Network Associates, Inc. Friday received a patent for storing metadata on a server.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted the company patent number 6,393,424 for its technology, titled "Method and apparatus for using a static metadata object to reduce database accesses," which allows for fewer accesses by a server to a database as the server satisfies requests from computers.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based concern, recently grilled by the Securities and Exchange Commission about questionable accounting practices created the technology to save time and computing resources. They believe businesses will be able to pull up important information faster with the software it can develop under the aegis of the new patent.

How can the patent serve the company and businesses who build off of it? Most computer networks are made up of many servers with storage databases. When a person using a PC makes a request for data, the server often accesses the associated database multiple times. Multiple accesses could include an access to retrieve metadata, which in this particular example describes the location of the data to be accessed, and an access to actually retrieve the data using the metadata.

The metadata may be shared among different simultaneous client sessions, further reducing the number of accesses to the database.

Network Associates' patent is a bright spot compared to what news the firm has been generating of late. The company did turn a profit in April, but it has also dealt with some business setbacks, including having to cancel the buyout bid for security software outfit McAfee.

Network Associates does enjoy a 25 percent stake in that firm, but the SEC inquiry and subsequent restating of results from a couple of years ago halted the deal.