[Cryptography] Large companies sued for using Elliptic Curve TLS?

Phillip Hallam-Baker phill at hallambaker.com
Tue Dec 1 20:41:12 EST 2015

On Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 5:22 PM, Tom Mitchell <mitch at niftyegg.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 10:28 AM, james hughes <hughejp at me.com> wrote:
>> ......
>> A Certificate does not offer “proof" that the “public key was generated
>> properly”. It proves the identity of the public key. Unless they are not
>> using a normal term for “proof” and/or “properly", I find this hard to
>> believe that an EC public key can be “proven” that it was generated
>> properly.
> This is almost silly to say yet is it silly?:
> Breaking the encryption, exposing both public and private keys plus the
> message
> can prove correctness with known correct code unless the method is utterly
> flawed.
> I am curious about the timing of these inventions and the standards
> process.
> To my knowledge all these designs begin with copyright draft disclosures,
> discussions and public presentations.   Then to take these works and apply
> for a patent
> seems like a violation of the copyright and implied NDA of standards and
> other working
> communities like the IETF and others unless all the inventors are named
> and compensated.
> Patented tech hidden in standards is an evil.

There are three main routes to getting a patent thrown out

* Invalidity (didn't pay fees, claims are ambiguous, expired, etc)
* Prior Art (invention was published before the application was filed)
* Non infringement (defendant doesn't do what was claimed)

Now I am not a lawyer, but I do take work as an expert witness in patent
cases. The first issue, invalidity is purely the domain of the lawyers but
the last two actually work together.

Early in the case there is a hearing to construe the patent and define what
it means in the context of the case. That is critical because it will often
determine whether it is a prior art case or a non infringement case.

In this particular instance, the patent can be read as describing El Gamal
signatures which are actually used in ECC certificates since DSA is a
variation of El Gamal. But that approach falls foul of prior art because El
Gamal and DSA were both published long before the patent was issued.
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