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Yet more world+dog patent suits, this time over encryption

Apple, Dell, HP, Toshiba, etcetera

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A hitherto little-known company called Maz Technologies has taken aim at seven major vendors, filing lawsuits claiming that they infringe its security patents.

Maz Technologies first popped its head over the patent parapet in 2002, when it sued a company called PC Dynamics over a security patent, and in 2008 it settled a suit with Microsoft. PC Dynamics had tried to have patent 6,185,681 invalidated, but seems to have failed, since there is now a 2006-dated re-examination certificate attached to it.

Maz now seems to be taking the wide view, filing against Apple, Dell, HP, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and BlackBerry (under its former name, Research in Motion).

The ‘681 patent, “Method Of Transparent Encryption And Decryption For An Electronic Document Management System” is at issue in most of the cases, with Maz Technologies asserting that fingerprint scanners infringe the patent. Here’s a list (documents linked at Scribd):

HP ProTools

Dell Data Protection Encryption

Toshiba’s EasyGuard software and fingerprint readers – US patent 8,359,476

The Blackberry Enterprise Solution

Fujitsu’s PalmSecure and PalmEntry

Lenovo’s ThinkVantage

Apple gets to be different. Its alleged infringement is against US patent 7,096,358, a patent covering an “Encrypting file system”.

The ‘681 patent covers turning the “close”, “save” or “save as” commands into an “event”, and using that event to trigger file encryption, while the ‘476 patent covers authentication apparatus – the fingerprint scanners in Maz Technologies’ sights. ®

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