Senator Seeks Free IP Pass for Banks -
Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, a staunch supporter of financial institutions in his home state, is seeking a double standard for patent rights that have been both granted and re-examined.
He is helping banks try to reverse a patent ruling that has required them to pay $400 million in legal settlements and license fees to a small Texas company, Data Treasury Corp.
A provision inserted by Schumer into the long-awaited “American Invents Act” (H.R. 1249), which according to sources is will come before the House starting on Wednesday, June 22 at noon EST, appears to have only one aim: Strip DataTreasury Corp., of Plano, Texas, of a patent for processing digital checks that has made the company wealthy at banks’ expense. At least two House members are said to want the provision removed.
In November 2005, First Data Corporation filed a request for a reexamination of the DataTreasury Ballard patents citing numerous earlier publications that it felt either anticipated the DataTreasury inventions or made them obvious. In 2007, the USPTO not only upheld both patents but further allowed DataTreasury to claim additional inventions that were disclosed but not claimed in the original applications.
Reported the The New York Times:
“[Inventor Claudio Ballard] bristles at the characterization of DataTreasury as a company that merely exploits dubious patents.
“It is true that the company now is just a holding company for the patents with only a few employees. At one time it had more than 100 — before the banks stole his patented technology, he said.
“‘I didn’t invent the scanner; I didn’t invent networking, or computers or software,” he said. “But I am an expert at systems integration, and I created this complete end-to-end solution” for digital check processing.'”
More than three dozen banks and financial institutions have settled with or signed license agreements with DataTreasury to use its inventions, including Bank of NY Mellon, Bank One, Citibank, Diebold, First Data, JP Morgan Chase, Mellon Bank, Merrill Lynch, NCR and PNC Financial Services.
Read more on Newsmax.com: Schumer Sides With Banks Against Patent Holder.
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What is Schumer thinking? The courts via Bilski have already spoken on business method patents. Besides, financial institutions and their local Senator should be careful what they wish for.
The House of Representatives should not permit valid, licensed and reexamined patents to be held to a separate, higher standard so that a select group of infringers can avoid paying licensing fees. If it does, expect fewer investors to risk their capital on innovative businesses and new technologies.
Illustration source: bastiatinstitute.org
House Republicans Reach Accord on Bill
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A note from Hal Wegner via the Internet Patent News Service:
“A tentative deal has apparently been reached amongst House Republican leadership factions on the America Invents Act that makes it “likely” that it will start to be considered in the House floor this Wednesday:
Thus, the House GOP leadership has announced a schedule for next week which includes the following: ‘On Wednesday, June 22, 2011 the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business… and likely begin consideration of H.R. 2021 1249 – America Invents Act.'”