Title:

Kind
Code:

A1

Abstract:

A method and corresponding apparatus for theorem certification enable the exchange of statements or conclusions between companies without the need for an issuing company to disclose facts or business documents that lead to these statements or conclusions. The method uses a trusted system to prove and verify statements issued by the issuing company using a set of business rules and business documents. The trusted system then passes the proved statements to a receiving company without disclosing the business documents that lead to the proved statements.

Inventors:

Salle, Mathias (Palo Alto, CA, US)

Application Number:

10/379212

Publication Date:

09/09/2004

Filing Date:

03/05/2003

Export Citation:

Assignee:

SALLE MATHIAS

Primary Class:

Other Classes:

707/999.107

International Classes:

View Patent Images:

Related US Applications:

Primary Examiner:

ELISCA, PIERRE E

Attorney, Agent or Firm:

HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY (Fort Collins, CO, US)

Claims:

1. A method for theorem certification without disclosing business documents that lead to the theorem, comprising: generating a proof to prove a statement in an issuer module, wherein the proof is a set of business rules defined over a plurality of business documents in the issuer module, and if the statement is true, the statement is a theorem; generating a certified document containing the theorem and the proof that proves the theorem; generating a signature of the certified document using a private key; verifying the signature in a receiver module using public keys; and if the signature is valid, validating the proof that proves the theorem.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising generating a signed certified document by combining the certified document and the signature.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the generating the signature step includes using a theorem certifier to generate the signature for the certified document.

4. The method of claim 1, further comprising generating a certified theorem using a theorem certifier, wherein the certified theorem contains the theorem, the proof, and the signature.

5. The method of claim 4, further comprising rejecting the certified theorem if the signature is invalid.

6. The method of claim 4, further comprising rejecting the certified theorem if the proof is invalid.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the verifying step includes using a certificate verifier to verify the signature in the receiver module.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the validating step includes using a proof verifier to validate the proof, wherein the proof is valid if the receiver module contains a same set of business rules that prove the theorem.

9. The method of claim 1, further comprising generating a trusted theorem if the proof is valid.

10. An apparatus for theorem certification without disclosing business documents that lead to the theorem, comprising: an issuer module that receives a statement to be proved, the issuer module comprising: a theorem prover that generates a proof to prove the statement, wherein the proof is a set of business rules defined over a plurality of business documents, and wherein if the statement is true, the statement is a theorem and the theorem prover generates a certified document containing the theorem and the proof that proves the theorem; and a theorem certifier that generates a signature of the certified document using a private key; and a receiver module that verifies the signature using one or more public keys and validates the proof that proves the theorem.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the receiver module includes a certificate verifier that verifies the signature.

12. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the receiver module includes a proof verifier that validates the proof, wherein the proof is valid if the receiver module contains a same set of business rules that prove the theorem.

13. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the receiver module generates a trusted theorem if the proof is valid.

14. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the theorem certifier generates a certified theorem, wherein the certified theorem contains the theorem, the proof, and the signature.

15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the receiver module rejects the certified theorem is the signature is invalid.

16. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the receiver module rejects the certified theorem if the proof is invalid.

17. A computer readable medium providing instructions for theorem certification without disclosing business documents that lead to the theorem, the instructions comprising: generating a proof to prove a statement in an issuer module, wherein the proof is a set of business rules defined over a plurality of business documents in the issuer module, and if the statement is true, the statement is a theorem; generating a certified document containing the theorem and the proof that proves the theorem; generating a signature of the certified document using a private key; verifying the signature in a receiver module using public keys; and if the signature is valid, validating the proof that proves the theorem.

18. The computer readable medium of claim 17, further comprising instructions for generating a certified theorem using a theorem certifier, wherein the certified theorem contains the theorem, the proof, and the signature.

19. The computer readable medium of claim 17, wherein the instructions for validating include instructions for using a proof verifier to validate the proof, wherein the proof is valid if the receiver module contains a same set of business rules that prove the theorem.

20. The computer readable medium of claim 17, further comprising instructions for generating a trusted theorem if the proof is valid.

Description:

[0001] This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/______ (Attorney Docket No. 200207986-1), entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR EVALUATING PERFORMANCE OF A WEBSITE USING A CUSTOMER SEGMENT AGENT TO INTERACT WITH THE WEBSITE ACCORDING TO A BEHAVIOR MODEL” to Cipriano SANTOS, et al.; U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/______ (Attorney Docket No. 200207987-1), entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR CUSTOMIZED CONFIGURATION OF AN APPEARANCE OF A WEBSITE FOR A USER” to Evan KIRSHENBAUM, et al.; U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/______ (Attorney Docket No. 200207988-1), entitled “SYSTEM, METHOD AND APPARATUS USING BIOMETRICS TO COMMUNICATE CUSTOMER DISSATISFACTION VIA STRESS LEVEL” to Carol McKENNAN, et al.; U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/______ (Attorney Docket No. 200207993-1), entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR SELLING AN ITEM OVER A COMPUTER NETWORK” to Evan KIRSHENBAUM, et al.; U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/______ (Attorney Docket No. 200207994-1), entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM ENABLING THE TRADING OF A RIGHT TO PURCHASE GOODS OR SERVICES” to Robert C. VACANTE, et al.; U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/______ (Attorney Docket No. 200207996-1), entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR PROCESSING USER FEEDBACK RECEIVED FROM A USER OF A WEBSITE” to Mathias SALLE, et al., and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/______ (Attorney Docket No. 200309361-1), entitled “A METHOD AND SYSTEM ENABLING THE TRADING OF A FUTURES CONTRACT FOR THE PURCHASE OF GOODS OR SERVICES” to Robert C. VACANTE, et al., all of which are concurrently herewith being filed under separate covers, the subject matters of which are herein incorporated by reference.

[0002] The technical field relates to trusted exchange of information between computer systems, and, in particular, to theorem certification without disclosing documents that lead to the theorem.

[0003] Companies share more and more information over the Internet. Increasingly, however, companies prefer to share conclusions and statements (theorem) with business partners without having to completely disclose facts or business documents that lead to the conclusions. The business documents that establish the conclusions and statements may be, for example, confidential information that should not be disclosed. However, it is also important that the business partners can trust the conclusions and statements presented by the company issuing such conclusions and statements.

[0004] For example, a sales contract may establish that a buyer pays a seller for the delivery of certain goods. The buyer has a right to delivery only after the seller secures the payment. The buyer typically sends a documentary credit application to an issuing bank. The issuing bank may issue a statement to the seller through an advising bank stating that the buyer's credit history can support such a line-of-credit, therefore delivery of goods is warranted. The statement is typically based on internal documents available at the issuing bank. On the one hand, the issuing bank may not want the seller or the advising bank to read the internal documents that lead to the statement. On the other hand, the seller and the advising bank may want to verify whether the statement is true before releasing the goods. Therefore, a trusted system is needed that enables the issuing bank to exchange the statement with the seller or the advising bank without having to disclose the internal documents that lead to the statement.

[0005] A method for theorem certification without disclosing business documents that lead to the theorem includes generating a proof to prove a statement in an issuer module. The proof is a set of business rules defined over a plurality of business documents in the issuer module. If the statement is proven to be true, the statement is referred to as a theorem. The method then generates a certified document containing the theorem and the proof that proves the theorem. The method further includes generating a signature of the certified document using a private key, verifying the signature in a receiver module using one or more public keys, and validating the proof that proves the theorem if the signature is valid.

[0006] A corresponding apparatus for theorem certification includes an issuer module that receives a statement to be proved. The issuer module includes a theorem prover that proves the statement using a proof, which is a set of business rules defined over business documents. If the statement is proven to be true, the statement is referred to as a theorem. The theorem prover then generates a certified document containing the theorem and the proof that proves the theorem. The issuer module further includes a theorem certifier that generates a signature of the certified document using a private key. The apparatus further includes a receiver module that verifies the signature using one or more public keys and validates the proof that proves the theorem.

[0007] The preferred embodiments of the method and apparatus for theorem certification will be described in detail with reference to the following figures, in which like numerals refer to like elements, and wherein:

[0008]

[0009]

[0010]

[0011]

[0012] A method and corresponding apparatus for theorem certification enable the exchange of statements or conclusions between companies without the need for an issuing company to disclose facts or business documents that lead to these statements or conclusions. The method uses a trusted system to prove and verify statements issued by the issuing company using a set of business rules and business documents. The trusted system then passes the proved statements to a receiving company without disclosing the business documents that lead to the proved statements.

[0013] The trusted system may be deployed within the issuing company and the receiving company. During the deployment phase, the issuing company and the receiving company may specify the company's own business rules by adding business rules to a business rule database. The business rule database may be located remotely or within the issuing company or the receiving company. Two different trusted systems may be deployed with completely different sets of business rules.

[0014] The trusted system may reside on a remote location server. The trusted system may also reside on a computer of the issuing company or a computer of the receiving company.

[0015]

[0016] The trusted system

[0017] When an issuing company issues a statement

[0018] After the theorem prover

[0019] Thereafter, the theorem

[0020] After the certified theorem

[0021] After the signature

[0022] If the proof

[0023] The following is an example illustrating the method for theorem certification between two companies, an issuing company C1 and a receiving company C2.

[0024] A set of the business rules

[0025] 1. Take_Delivery(buyer,good) if

[0026] contract(buyer,seller,good),send(buyer, issuing_bank,document_credit_applicatio n(buyer, issuing_bank)),pay(buyer, issuing bank)

[0027] 2. send(buyer, issuing_bank,document_credit_application(buyer, issuing_bank)) if

[0028] Document_credit_application(buyer,issuing_bank)

[0029] 3. pay(buyer, issuing_bank) if Receipt_of_Payment(buyer, issuing_bank)

[0030] In this example, C1 possesses the following business documents

[0031] Contract(C2,C1,book)

[0032] Document_credit_application(C2,Bank_of_America)

[0033] Receipt_of_Payment(C2,Bank_of_America)

[0034] C1 may issue the following statement

[0035] Take_Delivery(C1,book) if

[0036] contract(C2, C1, book),send(C1,Bank_of_America, document_credit_application(C 1,Bank_of_America)),pay(C1,Bank_of_America)

[0037] send(C1,Bank_of_America,document_credit application(C1,Bank_of_America))

[0038] if Document_credit_application(C1,Bank_of_America)

[0039] pay(C1,Bank_of_America) if Receipt_of_Payment(C1,Bank_of_America)

[0040] The trusted system

[0041]

[0042]

[0043] Referring to

[0044]

[0045] The memory

[0046] Although the computer

[0047] While the method and apparatus for theorem certification have been described in connection with an exemplary embodiment, those skilled in the art will understand that many modifications in light of these teachings are possible, and this application is intended to cover any variations thereof.