On Tuesdays the USPTO issues new patents. Both of today's Spotlight Patents concern aspects of digital rights management. Assigned to Thomson, the first patent addresses techniques for presence-based access control. Assigned to Hitachi, the second patent addresses techniques for protecting digital information.
7,861,294, "Presence-based access control," assigned to Thomson (FR).
To access services on a device, such as a computer, a user has a portable device in two parts: a plug adapted to be inserted in a USB port and a transponder that remains about his person. In a preferred embodiment, an access manager verifies that first the plug and then the transponder are identified. If so, the access manager verifies if plug and transponder have to be paired and if they have the proper access rights for the desired service. Only then is access given. In a further embodiment, more than one transponder is needed to access a certain service. It can thus be appreciated that the invention provides a flexible and secure way to secure access to services.
7,856,560, "Digital information recording apparatus and recording/reproducing apparatus," assigned to Hitachi (JP).
In a digital information recording/reproducing apparatus, information recorded on a hard disk with copy restriction thereof is protected from being copied onto other hard disks by means of a PC, etc., to be produced a large number of illegal copies, i.e., infringing a copyright.The information is recorded onto a hard disk drive through encryption thereof, with using an identification being number unique thereto, when it is recorded onto the hard disk. With this, normal reproduction is prevented, since the drive identification number necessary for decryption is different from, even if it is copied onto the other hard disk. Also, a version information of the hard disc is memorized in an information management circuit. When the information is illegally copied onto the other hard disc, the version information is changes; therefore it does not coincide with the version information memorized in the information management circuit. With this, illegal reproduction of the information copied can be prohibited in the reproducing operation.