While the patent world awaits a Bilski ruling that could have a dramatic impact on business-method patents, an East Texas trial victory in a case involving, yup, business-method patents adds fuel into a what could become a billion-dollar licensing campaign for a holding company.
On March 26, an East Texas jury ordered U.S. Bancorp to pay $27 million for infringing check-imaging patents held by DataTreasury. That sum—which could be tripled since the infringement was found to have been willfull—will be added to the more than $350 million that DataTreasury has already collected from some 30 other banks and check-processing companies that have agreed to license the small company's patents. (Verdict Form, PDF).The verdict is a first for DataTreasury, which has two additional trials scheduled against a total of eight banks. In those cases, the holding company is demanding a combined $1.39 billion in damages—more than half of it from Bank of America for processing 64 billion checks in a manner that DataTreasury says infringes its patents. (See p. 5 of Scheduling Order, PDF).