Nikon has filed a patent covering the idea of a password-based security system for lenses. The patent lists the high value of lenses as a reason for the innovation - the camera would refuse to shoot with a lens unless the correct password was entered. This is an attempt by the the company to prevent resale of stolen gear. 

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Nikon Rumors has extracted this (Google translated) passage from the patent:

'Conventionally, the imaging device provided with the security function is known. In such an imaging device, the technology which makes photography impossible until the password set up previously is entered, in order to prevent a theft and a mischief'.

Another line in the patent is intriguing, where Nikon states: 'provided that impossible for imaging the light shielding unit, blocking the light beam'. It's difficult to glean exactly what this might signify, but it seems to hint at a physical modification to lenses, as well as a software fix.

Nikon's patent suggests passcode protection for  lens-body combination, possibly involving a
physical means of blocking the light path from a stolen lens, making it impossible to use.

Putting aside complications regarding the buying and selling of used equipment, this is an interesting idea, and one that in principle makes sense - you register your lenses with your camera, and if someone steals your gear, they can't use it. What do you think?