Re: [Cfrg] Comb algorithm IPR status (was: Results of the poll: Elliptic Curves - preferred curves around 256bit work factor (ends on March 3rd))

Benjamin Black <b@b3k.us> Fri, 06 March 2015 02:54 UTC

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From: Benjamin Black <b@b3k.us>
Date: Thu, 5 Mar 2015 18:54:27 -0800
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To: Alyssa Rowan <akr@akr.io>
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Subject: Re: [Cfrg] Comb algorithm IPR status (was: Results of the poll: Elliptic Curves - preferred curves around 256bit work factor (ends on March 3rd))
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There are only two possibilities:

1) The combs in the reference implementations of Goldilocks448 and NUMS 512
are not the same, in which case you have an existence proof of there being
multiple techniques to achieve high performance and there never was a
legitimate IPR concern.
2) The combs in the reference implementations of Goldilocks448 and NUMS 512
are the same, in which case you have the IPR concern express previously.

Which is it?


On Thu, Mar 5, 2015 at 5:41 PM, Alyssa Rowan <akr@akr.io> wrote:

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> > [BB] What happened to the earlier, vigorous arguments by Robert
> > Ransom, Alyssa Rowan and Mike Hamburg that Goldilocks448, and
> > perhaps all of the curves based on large primes, would be covered
> > by Microsoft IP?
>
> I don't recall saying that. Perhaps you misunderstood?
>
> > [MH] …Alyssa and I just want to make sure that the patent
> > landscape is clear so that nobody infringes by accident.
>
> Mike is correct. It wasn't the curves in the (now-expired) NUMS draft
> that concerned me, but that we might've chosen curves based on
> benchmarked reference implementations covered by undisclosed patents. It
> would have been a problem if the only elegant implementations of the
> curves we'd picked were patented. Fortunately, that is not the case!
>
> > [MH] Since my code uses signed all-bits set combs, and if I
> > understand correctly your patent specifically covers modified
> > LSB-set combs, I don’t believe that my implementation has patent
> > problems. Again, this is a property of the implementation and not
> > of the curve.
>
> The advice I have received matches Mike's (and my) interpretation -
> I don't think Ed448-Goldilocks (the curve or reference implementation)
> has any IPR problems (although I obviously cannot make any warranties or
> guarantees!).
>
> >> [MH] Nearly 6 months have passed and we haven’t heard anything
> >> from legal. Do you have an update for us?
> > [BB] I cannot comment on Microsoft as I am no longer there.
>
> Noted.
>
> Perhaps the other co-authors of the (expired) NUMS draft could?
>
> - --
> /akr
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