ig brands are asked to pay royalties for usage of HTTPS
A Texas company filed over 60 lawsuits against big brands that utilize HTTPS on their Web servers, arguing it that deserves monetary compensations for one of the technologies used to encrypt Web traffic.
The company, named CryptoPeak Solutions, can easily be categorized as a “patent troll,” after it bought the patent (US Patent 6,202,150) that describes elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) under the broader term of Escrowable and Auto-Certified Cryptosystems.
CryptoPeak filed more than 60 lawsuits over HTTPS usage
Under CryptoPeak’s claim, their patent is used by the TLS protocol, which, in turn, is employed for encrypting traffic via HTTPS connections.
The company has now filed 66 lawsuits (at the moment of writing this article), asking a judge to force some of the biggest brands in the world to pay royalties for its technology. CryptoPeak wants its legal fees paid as well, which, in copyright cases, can amount to huge sums in less than a month.
Some of the biggest names CryptoPeak sued include Netflix, Yahoo, Pinterest, Sony, AT&T, Groupon, Etsy, Petco, Costco, Home Depot, Target, Expedia, Barnes & Noble, and multiple financial institutions and hotel chains. The full list of lawsuits is available online.
CryptoPeak is the classic definition of a patent troll
If you’re curious, no, CryptoPeak did not invent anything related to elliptic curve cryptography. The 2001 patent is based on the research of Adam Young and Marcel Yung from 1997.
The company appears to have formed overnight, bought the patent, and filed all its lawsuits in the Eastern District Court of Texas, a court known to rule favorably towards small companies in copyright-infringement lawsuits.
The court is notorious among legal departments for being the heaven of patent trolls. At the end of October, the Electronic Frontier Foundation asked the Federal Appeals Court toshut down the Eastern District of Texas court.
At the moment, in the year of the Lord 2015, CryptoPeak Solutions, a company that holds the patent for one of the core technologies used in HTTPS, doesn’t have an official website. It seems that they’ve put their priorities in the proper order.