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Algotronix offers wireless "design tag" for IP cores

May 25, 2007 //

Algotronix Ltd. (Edinburgh, Scotland), a consultancy spun out of Xilinx in 1998, is offering DesignTag, an active digital circuit element that can be designed-in to ICs and FPGAs and detected through-package by an external scanner.


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LONDON Algotronix Ltd. (Edinburgh, Scotland), a consultancy spun out of Xilinx in 1998, is offering DesignTag, an active digital circuit element that can be designed-in to ICs and FPGAs and detected through-package by an external scanner.

The scanner detects the presence of tagged intellectual property within an operating integrated circuit, providing a mechanism to identify falsely labeled chips and supporting enforcement of IP core and CAD tool license agreements.

Single or multiple tags can be present in a single chip and the scanner can read the serial number of each tag and use a separate web-based database to find out about a tagged chip. Security mechanisms allow DesignTag users to control who can detect their tag or to restrict elements of the information stored in the web database.

According to Algotronix the use of wirelessly readable tags would allow providers of IP cores to increase recognition for their work and increase the value of their cores and businesses. At present chip labeling is done in ink at the final stages of manufacture and recognizes the IDM that physically makes the system-chip (SOC) or the maker of the FPGA, but not the IP contributors.

"Sometimes, even the IC supplier goes without credit as powerful customers insist on marking key chips with their own logo.FPGA chip packages are marked by the FPGA vendors not the creators of the circuit they implement," Algotronix states in a brochure produced to promote DesignTag.

Algotronix is also offering DesignTag as a way to transcend other inherent problems in human-readable ink marking of chip packages, such as fraudulent marking, faded marking, lack of space and the fact that FPGAs can change their contents and function in the field.

The Algotronix' "Red Tag" product is intended primarily for product identification and version control. The "Black Tag" is a hardened version of the DesignTag intended for covert use and detection of intellectual property misuse. Multiple Black tags can be associated with a single chip.

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