DSA and patents

Werner Koch wk at isil.d.shuttle.de
Tue Dec 9 20:23:43 CET 1997

Richard Stallman asked me to clarify the status of possible patent
conflicts on DSA.  I know of these two points: 

  1. There is a a patent of Kravitz (5,231,668) assigned to "The United
     States of America as ...".  The NIST said, that they will make
     this patent world-wide available on a royalty-free basis.

  2. The Schnorr patent (4,995,082):  In a letter to the NIST Schnorr
     claimed that the DSA infringes his patent.  FIPS 186 (about DSS)
     states that "The Department of Commerce is not aware of any patents
     that would  be infringed by this standard".  I also heard, that the
     government will help if someone is sued on patent infringement while
     working on a project implementing DSS for governmental purposes.

If anyone here has more information, can [s]he be so kind and comment
on this?

Another issue with the OpenPGP draft is, that it requires DSA signatures
and has no provisions for plain ElGamal signatures.  If it´s true, that
DSA may infringe on some patents, can ElGamal signatures be made an option 
for OpenPGP and DSA be a SHOULD and not a MUST?

Werner Koch, Duesseldorf  -   werner.koch at guug.de   -  PGP keyID: 0C9857A5

More information about the Gnupg-devel mailing list