Data security vendor Protegrity has added new names to a lengthening list of companies it wants to sue over alleged violation of its encryption patents.

The original sued party – which it has only now admitted it launched an action against as far back as May 2008 – was Ingrian networks, to which in May of this year were added new parent company Safenet, plus nuBridges and Voltage Security.

“We have invested heavily in research, innovation and product development of our patented technology, and we are determined to protect these investments,” said Protegrity CEO, Iain Kerr.

The accused companies are claimed of infringing multiple patents relating to highly technical but critical aspects of applying, managing, and renewing elements of encryption when protecting databases.

All of the patents appear to relate to specific ‘ways of doing things’, which means that Protegrity thinks it came up with the ideas first. Such patents are controversial in software because in some circumstances there can only be a small number of ways to efficiently to perform certain actions and these can be arrived at independently by different parties over time. The case could have implications for database encryption systems generally.

On the other hand, Protegrity sees itself as having been a leader in terms of some of the concepts it thinks it has a right to by dint of being a pioneer.

“The company’s pioneering innovation and development work dates back to the mid 1990s, when granular database encryption was deemed to be infeasible.  Protegrity challenged the common understanding at the time that access control alone would be sufficient to protect critical data,” said an official release.