Consumer electronics giant Sony has agreed to license patents from beleaguered InterTrust Technologies to create digital-rights management (DRM) technology – a deal valued at over $28.5 million.
InterTrust will receive this one-time fee plus future royalties from Sony, which plans to use InterTrust’s patents as a basis for DRM features. These will be integrated into Sony’s digital media products and services, InterTrust officials said on Thursday. The deal gives Sony rights to InterTrust’s 24 existing US patents, plus future rights to the 90 patents that are pending.
Twelve-year-old InterTrust, which earlier this month announced plans to forgo product manufacturing and instead focus on licensing its intellectual property, is currently embroiled in a legal row with Microsoft. In April of 2001, InterTrust filed a suit with the US District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming that Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and other products infringed upon its DRM patents.
Since then, InterTrust has amended that filing to include additional patents and other Microsoft products, such as Windows XP, Office XP, and the company’s .Net platform for Web services.
InterTrust is seeking monetary damages and injunctions against Microsoft to prevent it from selling products that allegedly infringe on its patents. Microsoft has denied wrongdoing, and filed a counter patent-infringement suit against InterTrust. The lawsuits are still pending.
Publically held InterTrust earlier this year pared down its workforce to 35 employees from 115, officials said. For its first quarter ending March 31, the company reported a net loss of $12.4 million.
DRM technology is implemented in software and most often used to protect digital content, such as music and video clips, from unauthorized copying. But corporations also InterTrust’s technology for digital policy-management, a company official said. For example, a company might use DRM technology to manage the distribution, access, and modification of its compliance policies with federal regulations, she said.