Wells Fargo ordered to pay USAA $200m for infringed payments patents
A Texan district court has found that Wells Fargo “wilfully infringed” on two patents filed by the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), and has awarded the latter $200 million in damages.
The patents, which focused on making cheque deposits made with mobile devices simpler, were the subject of a 2018 patent infringement lawsuit filed by USAA targeting Wells Fargo’s mobile deposit solution.
The process allows bank customers to use their mobile devices to photograph and then deposit checks without visiting a branch or sending cheques by mail. USAA claims that the technology is used by “nearly every US bank and credit union”.
The lawsuit was the first issued by USAA, after a notice posted in 2017 that banks and credit unions should be prepared to “pay their fair share” when licencing its patented technology.
USAA filed a separate suit for additional patents related to the mobile remote deposit process against Wells Fargo in August 2018 which is scheduled for trial in January 2020.
“The verdict acknowledged the value of USAA’s innovation on behalf of members,” said Nathan McKinley, USAA vice president of corporate development.
“We hope the industry acknowledges this verdict as further evidence of the enforceability of these patents. Our goal is to be reasonably compensated for the benefits we believe the industry has received from using USAA’s pioneering efforts.”
Wells Fargo has said that it strongly disagrees with the verdict. Spokesperson Peter Gilchrist told San Antonio Express News that the issue was an industry involving numerous banks.
USAA had previously sued technology provider Mitek Systems in 2012 over its remote capture technology, which saw the latter file a counter charge. Both settled out of court in 2014 a month before it was due to go to trial.