A new Sony patent discovered uses load times to determine if software is official or pirated.

Filed in 2011, the patent (spotted by MCV) reveals Sony may have discovered a way to detect pirated software based on how long it takes to load. Using benchmarks established by Sony or the developer, the hardware can establish whether or not the license is valid.

There is a second validation process that will kick in if the software isn't approved initially, in an effort to compensate for potential hardware issues, hiccups, etc. It's not explicitly stated where this technology would be used, but the patent was filed by Sony Computer Entertainment America, giving some credence to the idea it could find its way into a PlayStation console.

Whether this patent will ever be used is another question entirely, but at least it's not another potential deterrent for used copies of games, just illegal ones.