According to a report by VG247, a NEOGaf user has uncovered a recent patent-filing by Sony that seems to describe a system that could restrict accessible content in a game based on whether it is being played be an original owner or a player who has gotten the game through the second-hand market. More details on the patent are included after the jump.
The patent description, which is included below, describes a system that would match a hardware ID together with a unique key on a game disc, allowing the hardware to restrict content on the disc if the key fails to verify. Effectively, this would discourage second-hand sales in a manner similar to the online passes used by several publishers today, though the main difference seems to lie in the fact that most online passes today are registered to a user account, rather than specific hardware.
Sony has declined to comment on the report.