A Novel Circuit Level Polymorphism for Hardware Watermarking to Intellectual Property Protection

Mohsen Bagheri Zefrei, Tofigh Asbaghi, Mehrshad Khosraviani


Watermarking is a powerful approach for Intellectual Property (IP) protection is studied in this paper. The polymorphic gates are the circuit cells that provide special capabilities regarding the special input-output set which is applied to some control switches. It is known as a powerful technique to withstand reverse-engineering attacks. Using this hardware-based security approach, the attackers cannot distinguish the features of polymorphism that is created to protect the Integrated Circuits (ICs). In this paper, an area and power-efficient polygate circuit is proposed consisting of simple, moderately complex, and highly complex logic functions as a circuit output which could be altered in terms of logical functionality by applying different input control codes. This hardware encryption is set by the designer of the IC in the implementation phase. The proposed polygate circuit of this paper is very compact and complex, moreover, it provides the capability of IC break-out in untrusted uses of the IC. 


Polygate, Polymorphism, Intellectual Property Protection, Integrated Circuits, Hardware Watermarking

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