Software Licensing Utility

This utility protects customers’ intellectual property by controlling the dissemination of software. It comes as a Windows dynamic-link library (DLL) which can be easily linked to any Visual Basic, C++ or C# programme.

The DLL locks the programme to which it has been linked, so that whenever the programme is newly installed in a machine where it did not exist before, a unique registration code is required to unlock it. The code is only required on installation; it is not required every time the programme is run and is unique to every system/software implementation. It thus controls the copying and dissemination of software without intrusively imposing security checks. Such checks are a separate control on the usage of the software and can be included or not as appropriate. The Automation Consultants Licensing Utility performs a similar function to a ‘dongle’, but requires no hardware and does not incur the performance penalty which dongles sometimes do by constantly using a machine’s I/O resources.

The registration code is generated by a utility which is supplied to the customer’s administrator only. Using this utility, the administrator can generate as many codes as they have procured licenses for. The Licensing Utility is not limited to locking and unlocking whole applications; it can also be used to control the use of functionality within an application. For example, rather than locking an application completely, the Licensing Utility can lock selected parts of it, and require a registration code for access to the full application. This can be used to permit the free dissemination of trial editions of software, while controlling the spread of fully functioning editions. All areas of functionality can be controlled in this manner prior to the registration of the software.