November 15, 2012

CUs still being hit by patent claims

Eight California-based credit unions joined the growing list of institutions – including a number of large banks – targeted in patent infringement lawsuits pressed by Pi-Net International Inc., reports said.

The suits say the credit unions are using technology patented by Pi-Net owner Lakshmi Arunachalam between 1995 and 2012, Credit Union Journal reported Thursday. It syas the firm has filed more than 35 similar suits against institutions such as JP Morgan Chase Capital One, Bank of America and others.

A final rule issued this summer by the Patent and Trade Office could have a bearing on these latest suits, NAFCU's regulatory affairs staff note. The PTO issued a final rule that implements NAFCU-supported policy designed to make it easier for credit unions and others to challenge patents for poor-quality business methods.

The rule allows the parties in a patent-infringement suit to request a USPTO review of a patent's validity, a step that could shorten litigation significantly. The rule offers credit unions a better mechanism for reviews of "covered business patents" in dispute.

The eight credit unions named as the latest defendants, CUJ reported, are Inland Valley FCU, Cal Poly FCU, South Bay CU, 1st Commonwealth Central CU, My Credit Union, Media City Community CU, 1st Valley CU and San Jose CU.