Semiconductor Value Chain

Microsemi Licenses Security IP from Cryptography Research

18 September 2013

Microsemi will license security IP from Rambus subsidiary Cryptography Research Inc. (CRI) under the terms of a definitive agreement announced by the two companies Thursday.

The terms of the deal call for Microsemi to gain access CRI's secure semiconductor intellectual property tools to create tamper-resistant semiconductors for certain government applications, making chips significantly more difficult to emulate, clone or reverse engineer.

CRI has already licensed its differential power analysis (DPA) countermeasures to Microsemi for its field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Microsemi's SmartFusion2 FPGAs provide countermeasures against DPA attacks using CRI's technology.

Microsemi security products are used by U.S. federal organizations and commercial entities in applications requiring a high level of electronic security including financial, digital rights management, gaming, industrial automation and medical.

Its security portfolio includes FPGAs and SoCs, and its security-related services include design, assembly, packaging and testing in its U.S. government approved trusted facility.

Microsemi (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) has been on a tear of significant acquisitions for several years, including the 2010 acquisition of FPGA vendor Actel. Microsemi produces ruggedized products for applications such as communications, defense, security, aerospace and industrial. The company reported sales of $1 billion in its fiscal 2012 and has 3,000 employees globally.

"Security threats—such as duplication, data and intellectual property theft or loss—continue to pose problems across multiple industries, including the semiconductor space," said Paul Kocher, president and chief scientist at CRI, in a statement. "Microsemi has a strong reputation in creating secure applications for the government market, and we are pleased to continue our collective work with the company to provide hardened and robust secure solutions."

CRI (San Francisco), a division of Rambus, was established in 1995 by Kocher, an international renowned cryptographer. Rambus bought CRI for about $343 million in 2011.

CRI develops and licenses technologies that are tamper-resistant and content protected for anti-counterfeiting, network security and financial services. The company claims that some 6 billion products are made each year using its license.

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