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Sony licenses InterTrust's DRM amid patents battle

Consumer electronics giant Sony has agreed to license patents from InterTrust Technologies to create digital rights management (DRM) technology, a deal valued at more than $28.5m (£19.6m).

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 that will be integrated into its digital media products and services, InterTrust officials said.

The deal gives Sony rights to InterTrust's 24 existing US patents, plus future rights to the 90 patents that are pending.

DRM technology is implemented in software and most often used to protect digital content, such as music and video clips, from unauthorised copying.

InterTrust's technology can also used by corporations 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.

InterTrust is in a court battle with Microsoft, to prevent Microsoft from selling products that infringe on the company's patents.

In April 2001 InterTrust filed a suit with the US District Court for the Northern District of California claiming Microsoft's Windows Media Player and other products infringed its DRM patents.

The company is seeking monetary damages and injunctions against Microsoft. Microsoft has denied wrongdoing and filed a counter patent-infringement suit against InterTrust.

Since then, InterTrust has amended that filing to include additional patents and other Microsoft products, such as Windows XP, Office XP, and its .net platform for Web services.

The lawsuits are still pending.

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