CA/Browser Forum's Mandated Royalty-Free Intellectual Property Policy Change Spurs Entrust To Withdraw From Organization

Policy also discriminates against certain corporate and ownership structures

August 10, 2012

4 Min Read


DALLAS, Aug. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Entrust, Inc., one of the founding members of the Certification Authority/Browser Forum (CA/Browser Forum), and the second-largest provider of publicly trusted SSL certificates, has withdrawn from the voluntary online security standards organization.

This decision is based on the CA/Browser Forum's new mandatory Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy Agreement, which requires member organizations to provide other members a royalty-free (RF) license of their patents that touch on proposed standards. The IPR policy also discriminates against certain corporate and ownership structures, extending licenses within organizations in ways that made it impossible for Entrust to support.

"It is with deep regret that Entrust is exiting an organization that we co-founded, co-chaired and provided invaluable leadership for more than six years," said Entrust CEO and President Bill Conner. "We understand why large certification authorities and browser developers are asking for free intellectual property, and we also realize why smaller vendors would like it for free. We do not believe, however, that simply giving away intellectual property makes the SSL market safer. In fact, we're of the strong opinion it does the exact opposite."

Conner also added, "By making CA/Browser Forum members' intellectual property available to all, many smaller, unproven CAs are empowered with issuing digital certificates that could very well jeopardize the trust and security of the entire Internet. Entrust can't support this position."

With years of investment and leadership in SSL standards, services and technology, Entrust is one of the primary holders of patents relating to the CA, certificate management, SSL and public key infrastructure (PKI) industries. Entrust, one of 18 member CAs who also left the forum, feels this is a strategic decision that directly serves the best interests of customers.

"At a time when the SSL industry is under intense scrutiny, with many organizations being compromised by attacks, it is unconscionable that the CA/Browser Forum mandates new IP policy to further fragment the industry," said Conner. "Entrust is a company that's invested considerable resources to ensure the SSL fabric is secured at the highest level possible, which is directly reflected by the development of our intellectual property and our leadership footprint in the industry."

The departure does not affect Entrust's ability to serve as a trusted CA for SSL digital certificates, nor does it change the company's participation in browser-embedding programs. Entrust SSL digital certificates will remain trusted by more than 99.9 percent of all desktop Web browsers in use today, including Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari. Entrust digital certificates also are trusted by 99.5 percent of mobile-based browsers.

The CA industry continues to be at the forefront of numerous, sophisticated and targeted attacks, resulting in the breach of several high-profile CAs over the past year. Entrust is firm in its belief that security vendors should collaborate and focus resources and capabilities to create a more secure SSL ecosystem.

"Entrust will maintain its leadership position in the CA industry to ensure SSL remains a trusted solution for securing information and transactions on the Internet," said Entrust Certificate Services general manager David Rockvam. "As the No. 2 global provider of SSL certificates, Entrust is strongly committed to building CA trust, which includes the direct involvement in all browser-embedding programs."

As both a founding member and Chair of the CA/Browser Forum since 2006, Entrust has been a key contributor to the organization's goals and core mission. Entrust's contribution to the industry extends well beyond its involvement with the forum. Entrust was the first CA to meet the standards set forth by WebTrust for Certification Authorities and extended validation (EV) SSL certificates.

Entrust Certificate Services provide organizations with SSL and specialty digital certificates that are proven, cost-effective and supported by standards-based technology. In January 2012, respected analyst firm Frost & Sullivan announced the findings of an in-depth market evaluation, identifying Entrust as the No. 2 provider of SSL digital certificates and services in the world.

For more information on Entrust's full portfolio of digital certificates, as well as the Entrust Certificate Management Service, visit

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About Entrust A trusted provider of identity-based security solutions, Entrust secures governments, enterprises and financial institutions in more than 5,000 organizations spanning 85 countries. Entrust's award-winning software authentication platforms manage today's most secure identity credentials, addressing customer pain points for cloud and mobile security, physical and logical access, citizen eID initiatives, certificate management and SSL. For more information about Entrust products and services, call 888-690-2424, email [email protected] or visit

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