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Small Firm Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Symantec, CA Technologies, and SafeNet

Suit Alleges Companies Pirated Patent for Device-Based Security Technology

A small Irvine, CA based company has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against several IT security firms including Symantec, CA Technologies, and SafeNet.

Uniloc Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Adobe, Symantec and CA Technologies

The company, Uniloc USA, Inc., filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler over unauthorized use of its patented anti-piracy product activation method and system, patent number 5,490,216 which was filed in 1993.

The company made its mark after filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Microsoft in 2003 over the same patent for technology used in Microsoft’s Windows XP and Office XP products. After a six-year battle, a Federal Court jury in Rhode Island sided for Unilock and ordered Microsoft to pay $388 Million in damages. On September 29th, 2009 a judge overturned that ruling saying the company did not infringe on Uniloc’s patent. Unlioc appealed the reversal. Oral arguments were heard on September 7, 2010 in Washington, D.C. and the judges expect to render their decision soon.

Uniloc, founded in 1993 claims to have “world-class proprietary Physical Device Recognition technology,” that authenticates the identity of devices seeking access to networks or software, thus reducing fraudulent activity such as hacking or piracy.

The abstract, pulled from the USPTO Database describes patent 5,490,216 as “A System for Software Registration - A registration system allows digital data or software to run in a use mode on a platform if and only if an appropriate licensing procedure has been followed. Preferably, the system detects when part of the platform on which the digital data has been loaded has changed in part or in entirety, as compared with the platform parameters, when the software or digital data to be protected was last booted or run.”

The company seeks unspecified cash compensation for damages and seeks to block any further use of their technology.

Other companies named in the compliant include Adobe Systems, Pinnacle Systems, Aladdin Knowledge Systems, National Instruments Corporation, Pervasive Software, Sonic Solutions, and Onyx Graphics, Inc.

When asked to comment on the suit, CA Technologies responded that they have not yet received a copy of the compliant and therefore cannot comment. Jodi Sorensen from Adobe Systems, in a statement to SecurityWeek said, "Adobe does not comment regarding pending litigation."

Is this company acting as a patent troll, aggressively enforcing patents with no intention to manufacture or market the patent itself, and will they collect this time around?

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.