Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pi-Net Files Wave of Patent Suits against Credit Unions

Case Filed: Apr 18, 2014

Case summary:

Pi-Net International (Pi-Net), Menlo Park, California-based intellectual property firm, recently filed a pile of lawsuits against financial services, banks, credit unions and business services alleging patent infringement related to transactions initiated by members via their websites. The defendants in the suits are: Ally Financial, Inc., Ally Bank, Fulton Financial Corporation, Acquisition Media, Blue Global, Paycom Payroll, LLC, TD Bank National Association, Barclays Bank, Payday One, Think Finance, Enova International and Cash America International. The lawsuits were filed in the Delaware District Court.

Pi-Net provides software products, services and solutions that enable distributed transaction processing over public and private networks. Pi-Net claims to hold patents on the technology allowing members to initiate transactions via credit union websites. The patents-in-suit include:
  • US5987500 entitled ‘Value-added network system for enabling real-time, bi-directional transactions on a network,’ issued on Nov 16, 1999
  • US8108492 entitled ‘Web application network portal,’ issued on Jan 31, 2012
  • US8271339 entitled ‘Method and apparatus for enabling real-time bi-directional transactions on a network,’ issued on Sep 18, 2012
The patents were originally granted to Pi-Net’s founder, Lakshmi Arunachalam and expire[i] by Aug 05, 2016. Pi-Net is the current assignee[ii] of the patents-in-suit (source: MaxVal’s Assignment Database.) The patents disclose the fundamental technology underlying Web commerce and other online services over the Web by use of Web applications.

The complaints filed were similar, alleging that their online banking systems infringed the three patents. According to the complaint, defendants’ online banking systems practice the patented technology of a configurable value added network switch, which provides a means for:
  •         switching to a transactional application in response to a user specification from a web-based application,
  •         transmitting a transaction request from the transactional application, and
  •         processing the transaction request
Pi-Net has filed similar lawsuits against large financial services providers, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Capital One Financial Corp., Wilmington Trust, UBS Financial Services, Inc., and Merrill Lynch & Co. and other companies including Avis Budget Group, Enterprise Holdings and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.     
See 1:14-cv-00494 for more details. To get alerts on cases filed/closed, subscribe to our Litigation Alerts.

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[i] Expected expiration date. Patent Term Estimator is a free web-based tool that automatically calculates patent terms and expiration dates for U.S. utility patents
[ii] MaxVal offers Patent Assignment Alert service where subscribers receive email alerts when assignments relating to target applications, patents or entities of interest are recorded.

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