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Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2018 11:55:54 -0500
From: Jeffrey Goldberg <>
Subject: Re: Bloom filter patent

On Oct 29, 2018, at 10:58 AM, Solar Designer <> wrote:

> A couple of weeks ago, I learned that a company claims to have patented
> the use of Bloom filter for checking whether a password is known to have
> been compromised:

Crap. I hate software patents, and particularly those for ideas I’ve
previously discussed.

> Naturally, I find patenting this unethical for many reasons.

Me, too.

> Now, I bring this up in here because Arnold Reinhold and I happened to
> comment on this idea in here last year:

Unfortunately my discussion of this wasn’t in a public place. With
1Password, we want to be able to usefully prompt the user to save a new
username/password that they enter into a web from even when 1Password is
locked. So locally we need to check to see if the username/password pair
already known to 1Password.

We looked at using a Bloom Filter for this, but ended up using truncated
slow hashes. But as our discussion was internal, it can’t be used to
challenge a patent on the grounds of prior art.

> I wonder if this possibly pre-dates the patent application if one has in
> fact been made.  I tried searching for patents granted to this company
> and found many, some of them looking particularly questionable, but not
> a patent on use of Bloom filters.  Maybe the patent is not yet granted.
> Arnold, would you care and know how to possibly notify the US patent
> office about this and hopefully prevent this patent from being granted?

I’m also willing to testify that if I thought of doing this, it is “obvious”
and shouldn’t be patentable.


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