SoftVault Systems, Inc. ("SVS"), a Washington-based intellectual property company, has developed patented technology in the fields of digital rights management ("DRM") and device access control. The company's patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,249,868 and 6,594,765 ("the Patents"), are directed, in general, to the remote disablement of hardware and digital content.
The Patents use periodic communication between a server and any number of embedded client agents. The client agent(s) can be embedded in software applications or digital content, or in the firmware or the integrated circuitry of any IC-based device, such as a laptop, PDA, server, PC, smart phone, smart card, etc. Access to software programs or digital content, or to a device, is enabled by periodic authorization messages, akin to a "heartbeat," exchanged between the server and client agents. As long as these periodic authorization messages continue to be exchanged, access is enabled. If for any reason the authorization messages are terminated, access is disabled. In the case of software or digital content, disabling may involve encrypting or deleting files.