Intuit defeated a controversial web encryption patent by arguing that “no data or blocks ‘are being transmitted’ over the link until at least one bit of data has entered the link.”
TQP Development court demonstrative
A controversial patent that has been used to wring millions of dollars in settlements from hundreds of companies is on the verge of getting shut down.
US Circuit Judge William Bryson, sitting “by designation” in the Eastern District of Texas, has found in a summary judgment ruling (PDF) that the patent, owned by TQP Development, is not infringed by the two defendants remaining in the case, Intuit Corp. and Hertz Corp. In a separate ruling (PDF), Bryson rejected Intuit’s arguments that the patent was invalid.
TQP has been arguing for years that using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) combined with the RC4 encryption cipher infringes its patent. The company’s former owner, renowned “patent troll” Erich Spangenberg, acknowledged during a trial last year that he has made more than $45 million in settlements on the TQP patent. TQP is one of dozens of patent groups that he owns.
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