Greg Vetter


The policy concerns intersecting patent law and cryptographic technology relate to the technology's beneficial uses in securing information in a commercial and social fabric that increasingly relies on computing and electronic communications for its makeup. The presence of patenting in a technology can impact diffusion of interoperable technology. Standardized embeddable cryptography facilitates its supply. Patent law for several decades has waxed and waned in its embrace of software implemented inventions rooted in abstract ideas such as the mathematics and mathematical algorithms underlying modern cryptography. This article documents the growth of cryptographic patenting. Then, in light of this growth and patent law's resulting shadow on the technology, it discusses implications for data security. These implications include both collaborative and contentious responses by the technology providers and distributors furthering cryptography in the information technology ecology.