The patent with number 7,028,034 was granted on april 11th and was announced by GraphOn yesterday according to Web Host Industry Review but it doesn't seem to be published on GraphOn's website. The WHIR article also covers a related patent, 'Firewall providing enhanced network security and user transparency' that also looks like material for suing someone.

Patent contents

Believe it or not, the actual abstract for patent no. 7,028,034 is:

A web server for providing a dynamically-updating pay-for-service web site is disclosed. The web server includes an HTML front-end entry process configured to create and store personal homepage content in a database for a owner, receive a fee for making the personal homepage accessible on a network. The HTML front-end update process is also configured to allow the owner to update their personal homepage over a network.

The actual invention claimed consists of two main parts:

1. A web server for providing a dynamically-updating pay-for-service web site comprising:

a web server coupled to a computer network having a database operatively disposed within and accessible on said network, said server comprising:

an HTML front-end entry process configured to:

create and store personal homepage content in a database for a owner;
receive a fee from said owner for making said personal homepage accessible on said network;
and an HTML front-end update process configured to allow said owner to update said personal homepage over said network.

12. A method for providing a dynamically-updating pay-for-service web site comprising:

providing a web server coupled to a computer network having a database operatively disposed within and accessible on said network;
using an HTML front-end entry process;
creating and storing personal homepage content in a database for a owner;
receiving a fee from said owner for making said personal homepage accessible on said network;
and allowing said owner to update said personal homepage over said network.

The rest of the "Invention claimed" specifies amongst other thing content categorization and relations to keywords.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said content includes categories of information.
3. The apparatus of claim 2, further including non-textual information associated with said categories.
4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein said non-textual information includes graphics.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said content includes keywords.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said content includes categories associated to said keywords.
7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein said content includes categories associated to said second set of keywords.
8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein said content categories associated to said keywords and further associated to an additional set of categories.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said account further includes personalized information.
10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said personalized information includes a URL to the user's homepage.
11. The apparatus of claim 10, further including the act of password-protecting said account.

And similar applied to claim 12.

Scope of patent

This patent is not so general that it covers all content management systems but the only thing that appears to separate it from any commercial CMS in existence is the specified relations between content, categories and keywords. And there is nothing revolutionary about that so I'm sure multiple CMS's can be potential targets for GraphOn.

This could also apply to free, open source content management systems if they are provided as part of a website that the customer pays money for. In that case, the website supplier/designer could be in legal trouble if GraphOn takes action.

While this doesn't really match web hosting since it requires an HTML frontend for updating the website and specifies f.ex. that the content is categorized, this could possibly cover a CMS that is provided with a web hosting account via Fantastico (one-click installer for multiple free content management systems).

Patent was rejected (?)

Interesting information appears in the transaction history for the patent:

06-27-2005   Mail Non-Final Rejection
06-23-2005   Non-Final Rejection

Unless the USPTO (United States Patent & Trademark Office) uses very non-logical wording, this means that the patent in question was rejected but some action from GraphOn made the USPTO pull the rejection.

GraphOn has sued earlier

The only logical reason for applying for this patent is money. Probably by going after smaller companies that won't take the risc of going to court because this patent shouldn't be enforcable. But who knows after the Eolas/Microsoft case.

While GraphOn doesn't appear to have a history of suing companies high and low, the have sued at least one time earlier over a patent related to web technologies.

The Complaint, filed in United States District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, alleges infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,324,538 and 6,850,940 which protect GraphOn’s unique method of maintaining an automated and network accessible database. The suit alleges that AutoTrader.com infringes the GraphOn patents on its popular AutoTrader.com website. The suit seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief along with unspecified damages and fees.

Graphon sues AutoTrader.com for Patent Infringement

Do a search for "graphon autotrader" to see this item mentioned on multiple other websites.

Big disclaimer: I am not an expert in patents and/or legalese so I might have gotten something wrong here.