Sony Sued for Stealing Security

Dennis Faas's picture

Another patent infringement occurs in the world of technology. This time, Sony may be the guilty party.

Certicom, a Toronto-based development company, is suing the Sony Corporation for patent infringement. The equipment in question includes Sony's Playstation 3, DVD players, personal computers, and various high definition televisions and audio products. Sony is accused of breaching Certicom's patents by manufacturing, using, importing, distributing, and selling their products in the United States without Certicom's permission.

The violated Certicom patents, employed in content protection technologies used in wired and wireless distribution of compression audio and video, were discovered in Sony products. Specifically, "the patents-in-suit are two of Certicom's fundamental patents used in consumer electronics, in particular its world-leading version of Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC)." The ECC technology is famous for providing the most security per bit of any known public key scheme. (Source: In the words of the prosecuting company, "we have invested heavily in ECC research and development over many years and feel strongly that our shareholders deserve fair value from companies using our patented technology. We prefer to resolve these issues through commercial discussions and without litigation. Yet, at this point we are left with no alternative but to file suit." (Source:

Most corporations that apply Certicom security features to their products have obtained Certicom licenses to do so. In fact, "Certicom security offerings are currently licensed to more than 300 customers including General Dynamics, Motorola, Oracle, Research In Motion, and Unisys." (Source:

As a result of the large number of companies with Certicom licenses, an obvious question remains unanswered: Why does Sony, a leading media company worldwide, need to break the law?

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