A way of protecting the configuration bits of the user of a configurable integrated circuit is described. The user-configurable integrated circuit has a decryption circuit block which decrypts configuration bits which have been encrypted by a plurality of encryption keys corresponding to a plurality of corresponding decryption keys for programming the integrated circuit into a desired configuration. The decryption circuit block receives the plurality of decryption keys from a corresponding plurality of decryption key circuits, at least one of which is embedded in the integrated circuit so as to prevent accessibility of the decryption key. Other decryption key circuits may be part of the integrated circuit or off-chip for accessibility of their decryption keys for ready identification of their owners; still other decryption key circuits may be embedded in the integrated circuit for inaccessibility. Such an arrangement permits the protection of the user's configuration from competitors and of the providers' IP from unauthorized usage by the user of the integrated circuit.
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