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Apple, eBay, other online vendors face encryption lawsuit

updated 03:15 pm EDT, Fri September 18, 2009

Company claims large-scale patent violations

Apple and eBay are among many online retailers named in a new patent infringement lawsuit, reports say. Filed by TQP Development, the suit alleges that the defendants are violating a 14-year-old patent, titled Encrypted Data Transmission System Employing Means for Randomly Altering the Encryption Keys. The company uses the specific example of Apple's online store, noting that the website generates an assortment of pseudo-random keys for secure packet transmission.

Such technology is extremely widespread however, and so a TQP victory could potentially impact all major online vendors. Other companies and brands named in the suit include: Ticketmaster, Fandango, Live Nation, UPS, CVS, DHL, MetLife, Broadcast Music,, MicroPlace, Viva Group, ProStores, PayPal and BillMeLater. TQP is requesting a jury trial, and restitution in the form of "damages, costs, expenses, prejudgment and post-judgment interest."

The suit is being filed through the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, a court notorious for ruling in favor of plaintiffs in patent cases. It is not the first such suit launched by TQP; another one, filed last year, was directed at Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and Capital One. The new case is likely to be settled out of court, as with many infringement accusations.

by MacNN Staff



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