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Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 12:23 pm PT (03:23 pm ET)

Sony, Phillips backed Intertrust sues Apple for alleged patent infringement

Intertrust Technologies, a company owned almost entirely by Sony and Philips, has filed suit against Apple, claiming that the iPhone maker has violated 15 Intertrust patents with the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple's Mac line of computers.

Intertrust revealed word of the suit on Wednesday in a blog post on the company site, in which it revealed the patents in question involve security and distributed trusted computing. The company describes itself as an inventor, devleoper, and licenser of software, technologies, and intellectual property for digital rights management (DRM) and trusted computing.

"Apple makes many great products that use Intertrust’s inventions," said Talal Shamoon, Intertrust’s chief executive officer, in a written statement. "Our patents are foundational to modern Internet security and trusted computing, and result from years of internal research and development. We are proud of our record of peaceful and constructive licensing with industry leaders. We find it regrettable that we are forced to seek Court assistance to resolve this matter."

Intertrust is backed by Sony and Royal Philips Electronics, each of which holds a 49.5 percent stake in the company, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple had declined comment on the suit.

Intertrust has seen previous success in defending its intellectual property rights against technology giants. In 2004, the company secured a $440 million settlement from Microsoft in order to put an end to a broad patent-infringement suit. Intertrust counts a number of mobile industry giants — including Adobe, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, LG, Vodafone, Sony, and Philips — among its patent licensees.

According to the company's About page, Intertrust is working on trust services for fields as diverse as diverse as DNA data processing, online storage, and targeted advertising. The firm also describes itself as a venture investor, with a portfolio including Nest Labs, SyncTV, and Marinexplore.