Article courtesy of The Register:
“The patent in question was crafted by crypto gurus Dr Adam Young and Dr Marcel “Moti” Yung, and granted in 1997. Its outline states:
This invention relates to cryptosystems, and in particular to the escrowing and recovering of cryptographic keys and data encrypted under cryptographic keys. The escrow and recovery process assures that authorized entities like law-enforcement bodies, government bodies, users, and organizations, can when allowed or required, read encrypted data. The invention relates to cryptosystems implemented in software, but is also applicable to cryptosystems implemented in hardware.
Perhaps crucially, it describes a means for “generating public keys” and “publishing public keys”, and it’s certainly true that ECC does involve generating public keys and using them.”