A lot of this patent feels like it has prior art in existing tools such as disassemblers and profilers.

Patent text

Claim 1

  1. A method for detecting a time complexity associated with an executable program stored in a computer memory device, comprising:

    (1) automatically analyzing said stored program with a computer processor to detect the time complexity of said program based on loops in the code;

    (2) automatically analyzing said stored program with said processor to detect the time complexity of said program based on a code flow and a destination of branching instructions in the program;

    automatically determining the minimum time complexity between the time complexity detected in (1) and the time complexity detected in (2) as the time complexity of said program.


IDA Pro seems to cover claims 2a, 2b, 4 and 5. The profiler in Visual studio seems to cover claim 14 and Visual Studio in general seems to cover most of claim 17 and 18.

  • Each claim (including its chain of dependency) is taken as a whole. That means there is no such thing as "claim 2a" or "2b".
    – George White
    Mar 6 '14 at 16:21
  • This patent covers a static analysis of high level code to provide graphical representations of paths that can happen and run time. Profilers, I believe, run the code and see what happens.
    – George White
    Mar 6 '14 at 18:50
  • 1
    @GeorgeWhite: of course, you are correct. However, henke37 probably means that the prior art reference does not cover all claim elements and as such you need at least a second reference to cover all claim elements.
    – Daniel K.
    Mar 12 '14 at 20:24

The first claim seems to be pretty much what you would want to do in a real-time system where you want to automatically determine whether a given piece of code will fulfill the real-time requirements you have. This would be known as static profiling to determine the worst case execution time (WCET).

One likely prior art reference could be the following publication: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/login.jsp?tp=&arnumber=4032336&url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fxpls%2Fabs_all.jsp%3Farnumber%3D4032336

I haven't read anything past the abstract, but the abstract may be broad enough to invalidate the first claim alone.

  • That abstract essentially says - "we have found a better method." The abstract does not tell us the steps to accomplish the method in so the abstract, by it self, can't invalidate anything.
    – George White
    Sep 25 '18 at 23:26
  • Unfortunately, the link no longer works.
    – Eric S
    Dec 13 '20 at 15:11

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