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USAA files Patent Infringement Suit for Remote Deposit Capture Technology

On June 7, 2018, United Services Automobile Association (USAA) filed a lawsuit alleging patent infringement against Wells Fargo.  It is reported to be the first US patent infringement suit filed by one bank against another.

The complaint asserts infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,699,779 (the “’779 Patent”), 9,336,517 (the “’517 Patent”), 9,818,090 (the “’090 Patent”), and 8,977,571 (the “’571 Patent”), each of which is directed to improved systems for enabling remote check deposits. 

While the lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo appears to be the first patent infringement lawsuit related to the subject patents, it may not be the last.  For more than a year leading up to the suit, USAA has been sending letters to hundreds of financial institutions, using a law firm called Epicenter Law.  The letters claim ownership of more than fifty pertinent patents, and invite payment of an unspecified licensing fee to help USAA work toward recovering its investment in the inventions. 

Any Wisconsin community banks receiving such a letter should promptly take the following actions:

  1. Contact legal counsel.
  2. With permission of legal counsel, notify the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) and keep it informed  – WBA is actively monitoring developments in connection with USAA’s claims and may have helpful information.
  3. To the extent you have purchased or licensed remote deposit capture technology from a vendor or service provider (which many community banks are likely to have done), review (or have your counsel review) the agreements with those vendors and providers - there may be indemnification or other provisions in those agreements that can reduce any liability and minimize the disruption or inconvenience of USAA’s allegations.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is for general informational purposes only. This post is not updated to account for changes in the law and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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