BoA, MasterCard sued over e-commerce patents

20 April 2009

Bank of America, MasterCard and Visa are among 20 firms being sued by Actus, a Texas-based patent holding company, over alleged infringements of four patents linked to an electronic payments system for e-commerce.

The suit, which also names Google, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, Walt Disney, Western Union and the world's largest retailer Wal-Mart, was filed last week.

It relates to patents covering "methods and apparatus for conducting electronic commerce using electronic tokens" - digital currency used for online payments.

An abstract for the patent says the tokens are "issued and maintained by a vendor, who provides products and services that can be purchased or rented using the electronic tokens".

The tokens can also be "purchased from the vendor either online using a credit card or offline using a check, money order, purchase order or other payment means."

Newswire Legal360 reports that prepaid gift cards and online payment services offered by the companies named in the suit are alleged to have infringed the patents.

Actus is reportedly seeking a permanent injunction against further infringement, as well as treble damages because it contests that the patents were infringed willfully.

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