July 22, 2014

Banks and Credit Union Latest Targets of Joao Bock Transactional Systems, LLC Patent Suits

On January 15 and 16, 2013, Yonkers, New York-based Joao Bock Transactional Systems, LLC (“JBTS”) filed complaints initiating the following lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, namely:

1) Joao Bock Transaction Systems, LLC v. Georgia’s Own Credit Union, No. 1:13-cv-0147- RWS, filed 01/15/13 in the Atlanta Division, assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story;

2) Joao Bock Transaction Systems, LLC v. The Bank of Georgia, No. 3:13-cv-0007-TCB,filed 01/15/13 in the Atlanta Division, assigned to U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten;

3) Joao Bock Transaction Systems, LLC v. United Community Bank, No. 2:13-cv-0008-WCO, filed 01/15/13 in the Gainesville Division, assigned to U.S. District Judge William C. O’Kelley; and

4) Joao Bock Transaction Systems, LLC v. Hamilton State Bank, No. 2:13-cv-0010-WCO,filed 01/16/13 in the Gainesville Division, assigned to U.S. District Judge William C. O’Kelley.

Each lawsuit alleges infringement of two related patents: U.S. Patent No. 6,047,270 (“the ’270 Patent”), issued April 4, 2000 and titled “Apparatus and Method for Providing Account Security”; andU.S. Patent No. 7,096,003 (“the ’003 Patent”), issued August 22, 2006 and titled “Transaction Security Apparatus.”  These are two of the same patents asserted against defendants in other litigation, identified in our 08/23/12 post, which also generally describes the technology disclosed in those patents.

JBTS’ above-identified complaints describe the accused products as “Online Banking products and/or services,” including: in lawsuit (1), Georgia’s Own Credit Union’s “Online Banking and Online Bill Pay services”; in lawsuit (2), The Bank of Georgia’s “eBiz Express Online Banking Service”; in lawsuit (3), United Community Bank’s “Business Online Banking Service”; and in lawsuit (4), Hamilton State Bank’s “Business Cash Management Service.”

The complaints allege both direct infringement and indirect infringement (i.e., inducement to infringe under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) and contributory infringement (35 U.S.C. § 271(c)).  Complaints (2), (3), and (4) allege and that the named defendants “ha[ve] had knowledge of the [’270 and ’003 Patents] since the commencement of this action,” whereas complaint (1) alleges that the defendant “has had knowledge of the [’270 and ’003 Patents] since the commencement of this action at least.” (Emphasis added.)  Regardless of the presence of the words “at least,” the complaints do not explicitly assert that the defendants knew about the ’270 or ’003 Patents prior to having been sued.

According to a recent opinion by another district court within the Eleventh Circuit: “The weight of authority addressing the knowledge required for indirect infringement, especially following the Supreme Court’s decision in Global-Tech, requires a plaintiff to allege that defendant had pre-suit knowledge of the patents-in-suit.”[1]

All of the complaints allege willful infringement and seek remedies for such infringement under the Patent Act.

[1] Brandywine Comms. Techs. v. Casio Computer Co., Ltd., No. 6:12-cv-274, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172588, at *17 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 5, 2012) (discussing Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A., ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 2060 (2011)).  See also Brandywine, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172588, at *20 (“In its response, Plaintiff does not cite any case within the Eleventh Circuit finding that knowledge of the patent can be acquired with the filing of a complaint.”) (footnote omitted).

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