It appears that earlier this year in May, CryptoPeak Solutions which is based in Longview, Texas, acquired US Patent 6,202,150 this is described as “auto-escrowable and auto-certifiable cryptosystems.” The patent relates to cryptosystems, and in particular to the escrowing and recovering of cryptographic keys and data encrypted under cryptographic keys.
As such CryptoPeak are now of the view that TLS-secured websites that use elliptic curve cryptography are infringing their patent. The company as a result have initiated proceedings and are suing the owners of HTTPS websites that use elliptiv curve cryptography. According to court documents CryptoPeak allege that the companies in question “committed direct infringement by its actions that comprise using one or more websites that utilize Eliptic Curve Cryptography Cipher Suites for the Transport Layer security Protocol.”
In July 2015 CryptoPeak Systems started legal action against companies in the eastern district of Texas. More recently the company has filed infringement claims against AT&T, Priceline, Pinterest, Hyatt Hotels, Experia and Best Western.
CryptoPeak has filed approximately 70 cases so far and is seeking damages, royalties and legal costs.
The companies that have been targeted by CryptoPeak have a less than favourable view of the situation. Netflix has filed a motion for dismissal of the case on the grounds that the infringement claims are invalid and do not clearly show infringement. In the filing Netflix’s legal team have written “The defect in these claims is so glaring that CryptoPeak’s only choice is to request that the court overlook the express words of the claims, construe the claims to read out certain language, or even correct the claims.”
The outcome remains to be seen, however it is notable that the lawsuits have been filed in the U.S, District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. This court has been an attractive choice for patent litigation of this nature due to its unique legal procedures that tend to favour plaintiffs in such cases. Procedures such as the local discovery order that can often require defendants to spend vast sums on documentation often encourage many of them to settle quickly.