May 18, 2007
-- Algotronix Ltd., a supplier of cryptographic intellectual property, announced that it will demonstrate its unique, patented, DesignTag active labelling technology at the 44th Design Automation Conference, Booth 885.
DesignTag is a machine-readable product labelling technology which can be applied to FPGA designs, ICs and Intellectual Property cores. Based on cryptographic research into ‘side channels’ DesignTag is a small, low power, active digital circuit supplied as an IP core for inclusion in larger designs. The presence of DesignTags can be detected by a sensor placed in contact with the package of the chip which contains them. DesignTag communicates a unique tag to the sensor which can then be used to access information on the tagged product in a web-based database.
Two families of DesignTag products will be demonstrated. The low cost Red Tag product addresses product identification and version control. Red Tag is particularly useful for FPGA users because ink markings on FPGA packages identify the FPGA chip, not the user design within. Moreover, ink markings on the FPGA package cannot track in-the-field updates to the FPGA bitsream. The Black Tag product is a hardened version of DesignTag intended for covert IP tracking and detection of IP licence infringement. Multiple Black Tags can be added to a single chip and are only detectable by their owner. Black Tags can be added to designs by CAD software and used to detect commercial chips which have been created using educational or evaluation copies of software tools.
Since DesignTag directly identifies the chip within the package it can be used by semiconductor vendors and chip users to allow them to detect products which have been fraudulently mislabelled – for example by changing speed grade or temperature range or marking a low cost clone product as a ‘brand name’ alternative.
Tom Kean, Managing Director of Algotronix commented, “For almost 50 years the chip industry has relied on ink markings on chip packages for product identification. With its DesignTag technology Algotronix has brought labelling technology into the 21st century by providing a machine-readable electronic tag circuit embedded in the chip and linked to a web-based database providing rich information on the tagged product. Unlike simple ink markings on the chip package this technology is accessible to FPGA designers, CAD companies, IP core vendors and design services organisations – and will allow them to take proper credit for their contributions.” About Algotronix
Based in Edinburgh, Scotland Algotronix develops and licences a range of encryption and design security intellectual property to customers throughout the world.