From ArsTechnica:

An image from the patent called “Auto-escrowable and auto-certifiable cryptosystems.”Auto-escrowable and auto-certifiable cryptosystems patent

A Texas company is suing some of the biggest names in tech and retail, claiming their HTTPS websites infringe an encryption patent titled “Auto-Escrowable and Auto-Certifiable Cryptosystems.” CryptoPeak Solutions has filed about six dozen cases in all, and they began hitting the patent-troll friendly venue of the Eastern District of Texas in July.

The patent‘s abstract describes the invention, granted in 2001:

A method is provided for an escrow cryptosystem that is overhead-free, does not require a cryptographic tamper-proof hardware implementation (i.e., can be done in software), is publicly verifiable, and cannot be used subliminally to enable a shadow public key system. A shadow public key system is an unescrowed public key system that is publicly displayed in a covert fashion. The keys generated by the method are auto-recoverable and auto-certifiable (abbrev. ARC). The ARC Cryptosystem is based on a key generation mechanism that outputs a public/private key pair and a certificate of proof that the key was generated according to the algorithm. Each generated public/private key pair can be verified efficiently to be escrowed properly by anyone. The verification procedure does not use the…

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