A large number of international brands including Sony, Yahoo! and Netflix, are being sued due to the fact that their HTTPS websites allegedly infringe an existing encryption patent.

CryptoPeak Solutions – a firm based in Texas – obtained the rights to US Patent 6,202,150, which relates to “auto-escrowable and auto-certifiable cryptosystems”.

CryptoPeak has launched lawsuits against international companies with TLS-secured websites that use elliptic curve cryptography, which is used by growing number of businesses across the world as a security measure.

Currently, CryptoPeak has almost 70 cases in process against a wide range of brands and is demanding damages, royalties, and for any incurred legal costs to be paid by the ‘offending’ companies.

In one of its lawsuits – against insurance company Progressive – CryptoPeak states that: “The defendant has committed direct infringement by its actions that comprise using one or more websites that utilize Elliptic Curve Cryptography Cipher Suites for the Transport Layer Security protocol.

“A representative example of a website owned, operated and/or controlled by the defendant that utilizes ECC Cipher Suites for TLS is progressive.com.”

The case is being closely followed on an international scale, as it could have major implications for companies and the way their websites operate.

Netflix, meanwhile, has filed a motion for dismissal of the case, highlighting that the infringement claims are invalid.

In Netflix’s formal response, it stated: “The defect in these claims is so glaring that CryptoPeak’s only choice is to request that the court overlook the express words of the claims, construe the claims to read out certain language, or even correct the claims.”