The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) has succeeded again against Wells Fargo in ongoing patent infringement litigation over remote check deposit technologies used in mobile banking systems.
A federal East Texas jury in Marshall’s federal court ordered Wells Fargo — the nation’s fourth largest bank — to pay $102,792,510 in damages, which is the exact dollar amount the plaintiff was seeking in the case.
The damages cover infringement beginning on Aug. 17, 2018, and through the date of the trial.
The jury also determined that Wells Fargo willfully infringed the two patents-in-suit.
The verdict comes exactly two months after USAA scored a $200 million verdict in a patent infringement trial against Wells Fargo, held in Marshall’s Federal Building and United States Courthouse, in November.
In the latest case, USAA, a reciprocal interinsurance exchange for military service members — claimed Wells Fargo infringed two patented inventions, related to consumer remote deposit technology.
“The patents are, generally speaking, directed to improved computing systems that enable commercially-viable remote check deposit systems, including those used by Wells Fargo, for example, by determining and validating the routing number on a check, converting the file format of a check image, generating a log file containing useful information about the check, converting the file format of a check image, generating a log file containing useful information about the check or its image, and/or assisting the user in taking a high-quality check image, for example by instructing the user regarding the proper distance away from the check to hold the camera,” the lawsuit states.
USAA claimed that Wells Fargo released its remote deposit capture product years after USAA had implemented its system, and refused to license USAA’s product when approached about it in 2017.
“Wells Fargo has generated $1.2 billion in profit from the use of this system. We’ll be asking for no less than 85 cents per successful mobile deposit,” USAA’s attorney, Jason Sheasby, of Irell & Manella law firm of Los Angeles, California, said in opening statements, noting that equates to $102,792,510 in damages that they desired.
“Wells Fargo had the right to use our ideas, but the moment our patent was granted, they had two options — vacate or ask permission,” said Sheasby.
Wells Fargo’s attorney Danielle Williams, of Winston & Strawn LLP, of Charlotte, North Carolina argued that the patents were a continuation of “some old, earlier” filed applications from the original patents filed on Halloween 2006.
“The law allows USAA to file application of these old, original applications, but only if… to get the benefit of the Oct. 31, 2006 date, the original application has to include specifications of the invention claimed in the 2018 application,” Williams argued.
“The evidence will show the claims in the 2018 patent, for the first time, talked about using a mobile device for check deposit,” she contended. “The old 2006 specification only described using a desktop or laptop computer connected to a separate scanner or camera.”
“In 2006 USAA didn’t write down what it is now claiming it’s invention is, so it’s 2018 patents are invalid,” Williams argued.
In the end, jurors determined that Wells Fargo did not prove its claims of invalidity.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Chief Judge Rodney Gilstrap served as the presiding judge in the case.