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[ih] Ping Eduardo A. Suárez (was Re: What is the origin of the root account?)

    I've heard claims that setuid was also an innovation in unix.  No idea 
    of the construct's history.

It was. As far as I know it was also one of the first software patents
although there was a hardware implementation as well (just for good
measuers). The patent was put in the pubic domain.

Checking wikipedia, there is a page about it: