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Symantec has been granted a patent for 'Data driven detection of viruses' - a method that has been used in Symantec's products since 1999.
US patent no. 6,851,057 covers a P-code related technique that enables simple scripts to be written that will allow for complex scanning and emulation of executable files. The technology allows an anti-virus scanner to be aimed at specific regions of each file for inspection, rather that having to scan whole files and slow down the operation of a computer.
Symantec said the patent forms part of a strategic portfolio that 'allows Symantec to continue to set the standard for innovation in the information security industry'.
Full details of the patent can be found at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.