Feeds

Encryption patent firm stakes claim on industry

Patently questionable

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A previously unknown Californian firm which has obtained a patent for application-independent file encryption is seeking to enforce licensing from other companies in the security industry.

The move has spurred anger among vendors hit by patent infringement claims; they say they will contest the action vigorously.

Maz Technologies was granted a patent last year for a "method of transparent encryption and decryption for an electronic document management system". Recently the company appointed lawyers to press its claims.

PC Dynamics, the publisher of a virtual disk encryption product for Windows called SafeHouse, is among the first companies targeted in Maz's claim.

Through attorneys Koppel, Jacobs, Patrick & Heybl, Maz is seeking a minimum $25,000 license fee from PC Dynamics. Another small vendor, Arizona-based Envoy Data (which resells SafeHouse alongside its own products), has also received a letter from the lawyers along similar lines.

Peter Avritch, president of PC Dynamics, told us he was surprised to be approached this week about what he considered was an "absurd" claim, based on a patent filed in 1998 - long after the widespread use of electronic encryption technology.

"This is a very broad patent, which covers almost everything that saves encrypted files to disc. It could cover everything from secure laptops to electronic encryption," he said.

"My arguments to the lawyers that this was 'prior-art' didn't go down well," he added.

Avritch is unsure who else has been approached by Koppel, Jacobs, Patrick & Heybl.

PC Dynamics makes products that compete with tools from larger firms like Norton's N-Disk range, PGP Disk and solutions from RSA Security.

The lawyer handling the case, Stephen Sereboff, was not available to talk with us when we called the attorneys.

Avritch, is heavily critical of the US Patent Office's lack of knowledge of the basics of encryption, and said its actions in granting the patent place him a difficult position in defending his firm against the patent infringement claim.

"The patent application failed to disclose a single encryption product. Unreal for 1998," Avritch said

"Naturally, with all the need for encryption, it is ridiculous for somebody to come along this late in the game and claim a lock on the entire industry."

Avritch hopes to put together a media campaign, including supporting quotes from influential industry leaders, to oppose the claim. ®

External links

'Method of transparent encryption and decryption for an electronic document management system' patent

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.