Patent protection: A must for masterkey cylinders With copyright protection no longer the most effective way of guarding against illegal key duplication, manufacturers are increasingly focusing on patent protection to provide end users with cost effective security and peace of mind. ASSA Cylinders Product Manager Karen Pearce discusses how patent protected masterkey systems can provide security for a number of applications. Why a masterkey? The challenge for any facilities manager or business owner is to find a practical and cost effective way of maintaining accessibility, without compromising on security. Considerations include the ease and speed of access, ensuring that escape routes can be accessed in the event of an emergency. However, the challenge doesn’t end here. The communal nature of both large residential and commercial buildings also presents further security considerations, with residents, maintenance engineers or landlords requiring different levels of access. It is here that a masterkey system is ideal, offering a robust, low cost and easy to install solution. In addition, locking solutions are often required for a range of applications, which could include a padlock for an outside storage space, single or double cylinders for doors or cabinet locks for internal storage compartments. There are systems on the market that can incorporate all of these locking functions within one masterkey. Patent Protection If keys can be borrowed or are misplaced a master key system can become compromised. Copyright protection no longer prevents copied keys getting into the wrong hands, only cylinder systems that offer patent protection for their keys can truly protect against illegal key blank duplication. As long as a system is patent protected, anybody requiring a new key cut will have to provide identification and authorisation from the license holder. This could be the written approval of a housing association or facilities manager. This effectively means that the longer the patent, the longer a masterkey system is protected against being compromised, thereby providing additional security. Making the grade It is important to be aware of the relevant British Standard and to ensure that the system chosen meets the necessary performance criteria. In this instance, the standard to note is BS EN 1303:2005 of the Building Regulations, which relates specifically to the cylinder functionality. When being tested to this standard, cylinders are graded in relation to their performance under 8 different categories. Key related security is tested up to grade 6, while cylinders can have their attack resistance graded up to grade 2. A solution There are a number of masterkey security solutions on the market including ASSA’s Flexcore Plus, the next stage of the market leading Flexcore cylinder series, which can meet all of these security requirements. Ideal for a range of masterkey applications that are both commercial and residential, as well as within schools and hospitals, the Flexcore Plus is patent protected until 2023. Providing bump resistance to BS EN1303:2005, Flexcore Plus is made with the highest quality materials to ensure durability and longevity of both cylinders and keys. The undersides of Flexcore Plus key blanks are tubular in shape allowing acceptance into the patented inner plug profile, providing an extra level of security. Other ASSA cylinders ASSA’s masterkey cylinders range from versatile, medium security products to very high security cylinders where additional protection is essential. The ASSA dp 4400 range of cylinders offers extremely high security and full resistance to any currently known method of picking. It may also be included in the same master key system as lower-cost dp 2400 cylinders, allowing the level of security to be tailored to the requirements of each door throughout a building. The ASSA Twin Combi 5800 range of cylinders offers very high security and full resistance to any currently known method of picking and features a case hardened, drill resistant insert.