Whitfield Diffie and Newegg lawyer Alan Albright, outside the federal courthouse in Marshall, Texas. Joe Mullin MARSHALL, TX—Newegg’s courtroom face-off with patent-licensing giant TQP Development is nearing its end. TQP has sued hundreds of companies, saying it has patented the common Web encryption scheme of combining SSL with the RC4 cipher.

Almost 140 companies have paid TQP a total of more than $45 million. But online retailer Newegg, which has sworn not to settle with “patent trolls” like TQP, took the case to a jury. On Thursday, Newegg’s top lawyer, Lee Cheng, took the stand.

He was followed by a non-infringement expert and three well-known computer scientists who emphasized the importance of Newegg’s “prior art.” Ron Rivest testified, via videotaped deposition, about how he invented the RC4 cipher while at RSA Security in 1987, two years before the TQP patent application was filed.

Former Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie described demonstrating Lotus Notes to Bill Gates in 1988.

Alan Eldridge, who worked on the Notes product, flew down to Marshall in person to describe how he put RC4 in the software. 9     

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