Patent Suit Targets 22 Software Companies

Information Protection and Authentication of Texas (IPAT) has filed a patent infringement suit against 22 companies—including Microsoft, Symantec, CA, F-Secure, McAfee, Kaspersky, Sophos, Novell, and PC Tools—for infringing on a pair of patents issued in the mid-1990s regarding applications security and integrity. The first patent cited, 5,311,591, involves a method for authorizing what resources on a computer a particular application program can use; the second patent, 5,412,717, involves using hashes—essentially, unique mathematical identifiers—to confirm that a program hasn’t been tampered with on disk or in memory.

The techniques described in the patents are commonplace practices in the software industry today, particularly amongst developers of operating systems and software updaters, as well as security and anti-malware applications. Many of the companies targeted by IPAT’s suit are antivirus developers.

IPAT is seeking an injunction against the companies continuing to ship products that infringe on its patents, as well as damages. The suit was filed in the patent holder-friendly eastern district of Texas.

The patents were granted in 1994 and 1995 to Addison M. Fischer, of Naples, Florida.