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Patent suit takes aim at Apple, Dell, others over encryption

A new string of patent lawsuits targets some of the biggest names in tech over alleged infringement on security patents.

A security group has taken aim at some of the biggest computer and software makers, claiming their products infringe on one or more of its patents.

Maz Encryption Technologies, a Delaware company made up of two former employees of Maz Technologies, filed suits last week against Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and Research In Motion (now BlackBerry).

In seven separate complaints, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Maz accuses the companies of infringing on one or more of its three patents covering encryption and user authentication technologies -- low level security found in computers and other portable devices.

In the case of Dell, Lenovo, and Fujitsu, that amounts to fingerprint scanners, whereas with Apple, Maz is targeting the company's iOS security system on products like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

The suits seek monetary damages, as well as an injunction against the companies that make the accused products.

"BlackBerry has worked hard to develop its leading-edge BlackBerry technology and has built an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio of its own," the company said in a statement. "BlackBerry will vigorously defend this suit."

Dell, HP, and Toshiba declined to comment. Apple, Fujitsu, and Lenovo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Maz Technologies sued Microsoft in July 2008 using two of the same patents. In its complaint, the security company said Microsoft infringed on its patents with the encryption found in Windows XP Professional and Windows Vista. The two companies settled in early 2009 for an undisclosed sum.

(Via PatentlyApple)

Updated at 2:04 p.m. PT with comment from BlackBerry.