Before the Internet really took off, Intertrust’s founder Victor Shear, a sociologist by training, recognized the enormous technology challenges created by two emerging trends:

  • The digital world would be characterized by the widespread availability of digital content; low cost, “always on” or “partially on” connectivity; and a highly distributed computing environment.
  • The traditional hierarchical computing security models were not adequate to support commercial relationships in this emerging world.

Shear saw the need for technologies that provide both the control and the flexibility to support traditional and future commercial relationships and interactions in a digital world. Trusted distributed computing in its many forms and applications was born. Today, Intertrust holds over 200 issued patents; with over 200 patent applications pending worldwide.




The market recognized the enormous opportunity of digital content distribution and looked to Intertrust as a technology solutions provider. Content protection emerged as the first application of Intertrust’s inventive work and took root protecting music and video. The Company, publicly traded from 1999 to early 2003, was identified as the leading content protection technology provider. The market developed unevenly with proprietary solutions that emphasized control, rather than flexibility, resulting in a consumer backlash.




In 2003, Intertrust became a private joint-venture owned by Sony, Philips, and Stephens Inc. While these companies certainly recognized the importance of Intertrust’s technology in content protection, they also share in the vision that trusted distributed computing could be the basis for so much more. Today, Intertrust is an independent, privately held company headquartered in Silicon Valley.

Intertrust’s intellectual property and technologies continue to drive the company’s strategic focus. Global technology leaders have licensed the company’s patent portfolio and have included the technology in widely-distributed, well-known products. Intertrust’s technology position is validated in part by Microsoft taking a $440 million patent license in 2004, continues to grow. The company is committed to the continued research and development, strategic patent licensing, and monetization of its intellectual property.




Intertrust strengthens its position as a market enabler, embracing open standards and joint development efforts as well as incubating start-ups. The company believes these efforts are necessary and effective tools to market adoption.

In 2005, Intertrust promoted interoperability among disparate content protection technologies as a founding member of the industry-wide Coral Consortium. Embracing open standards, the company participated in the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) content protection specification and joined forces with leading consumer electronics firms SamsungSonyPhilips, and Panasonic and formed Marlin DRM, the first open standards-based digital rights management technology platform. 

In early 2006, the Marlin group launched the Marlin Developer Community (MDC), for the development and distribution of the technology specifications and the Marlin Trust Management Organization (MTMO), a neutral trust management licensing organization. Intertrust created Seacert, a trust services subsidiary, which served as proponent and facilitator for these efforts. 

During 2007 and 2008, the company continued to promote the use of open standards for consumer media distribution, facilitating Marlin adoption by device makers and service providers and the development of a Marlin-enabled ecosystem. Additional global technology firms licensed Intertrust’s patents, including Adobe, a company whose focus goes far beyond consumer media distribution.





Intertrust continues to strengthen its position in international business markets, striking partnerships with major companies based in Japan, the UK, Italy, France, China, and other countries. In tandem, the company continues to expand its technology and investment portfolio, including technology originating at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for recognizing patterns in disparate data.

In 2012, Intertrust introduced incubators that put consumers in control of their data for personalized advertising, genetic data analysis, and secure workforce collaboration


Today, Intertrust collaborates with an ever increasing group of partners who look to it to continue to drive trusted computing into the ever increasing types of transactions possible on the Internet. The company and its partners continue to strive to make the three key elements of trust — privacy, security, and rights management — available to all actors and bring about more open systems using distributed computing services.