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Microsoft hit by Skype patent troll



Now all your computers are security devices

Microsoft's ownership of Skype has placed it in the crosshairs of a patent troll who claims that all computers are security devices. CopyTele, which calls itself an expert in “patent monetization and patent assertion," launched its suit today. It claims that some of the technology used in Skype violates patents owned by its subsidiary, Secure Web Conference Corp.

CopyTele claims the infringement of two U.S patents -- "Method and apparatus for securing e-mail attachments" and "Portable telecommunication security device" which were granted in 2005. Both patents concern secure Web-based peer-to-peer communications, such as those used by Skype.

CopyTele CEO Robert Berman told CNET that the first patent applies to an exchange of information using public-key and private-key encryption with the users identified by their e-mail addresses. The second covers a security device which apparently means “device with a keyboard and microprocessor with multiple inputs and outputs”.

CopyTele's believes any computer or smartphone that runs Skype or other Web conferencing software is “a security device” and violates the patent. This is a bit of a stretch as that would include Apple gear and no one could say that was a security device.

CopyTele has already filed patent lawsuits against AU Optronics and E Ink Holdings regarding electrophoretic display technologies. Last month, the company purchased two more patent portfolios.

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