Saturday, June 2, 2007


Encryption vendor claims AACS infringes its patents, sues Sony

‘Canadian encryption vendor Certicom yesterday filed a wide-ranging lawsuit against Sony, claiming that many of the products offered by the electronics giant infringe on two Certicom patents. This might sound like business as usual until you realize what’s being targeted: AACS and (by extension) the PlayStation 3.

Certicom has done extensive work in elliptic curve cryptography (ECC), and the patents in question build on this work. The patents have already been licensed by groups like the US National Security Agency, which paid $25 million back in 2003 for the right to use 26 Certicom patents, including the two in the Sony case. Now, Certicom wants Sony to pay up, claiming that encryption present in several key Sony technologies violates Certicom patents on “Strengthened public key protocol” and “Digital signatures on a Smartcard.”

The biggest charge is that the encryption in AACS itself is infringing. The practical implications of this claim are huge; AACS is included in Sony’s Blu-ray players, PlayStation 3, and Blu-ray and PS3 discs. Certicom says Sony needs to take out a license for all of these uses.’

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