updated 04:55 pm EDT, Tue June 2, 2009
Electronic payment lawsuit
Actus LLC, patent holding company based in Marshall, Texas, has sued Apple, Amazon, Ebay, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and a number of other companies for infringing on several patents relating to methods for "conducting electronic commerce transactions using electronic tokens." The patents - Nos. 7,328,189; 7,249,099; 7,177,838; and 7,376,621 - were originally filed by a company named PayByClick.
The patents detail a variety of ways customers can make purchases online. The specific claims involve the way payments are processed, using "electronic tokens" that are kept in a database entry of the users' accounts, or communication between a number of servers to enable electronic commerce. The patents also allegedly cover the methods for determining if a customer has adequate funds to purchase tokens.
Apple is specifically accused of infringing the patents through the Apple Store, iTunes and the iPhone App Store. eBay is named in the suit because of PayPal transactions. The list of defendants includes 15 companies, including a number of banks and retailers.
The Eastern District of Texas is particularly well known for patent litigation. Attorneys and represented companies have been attracted by comparatively quick proceedings and juries perceived to be more likely to rule in the plaintiff's favor. Apple recently lost a patent infringement suit in the Marshall Division court, resulting in a judgment for $19 million in damages.
Actus earlier this year sued 20 companies over the same four patents. Defendants in the case include industry giants such as Google, Bank of America, Capital One, Mastercard, Visa, Wal-Mart and Walt Disney. Both Actus' registered agent, Daniel Perez, and the lead counsel, William "Bo" Davis, are attorneys that specialize in intellectual property suits.
Actus demands a jury trial and seeks monetary compensation from each company for damages, costs, expenses and interest, along with enhanced damages "resulting from the knowing, deliberate, and willful nature of Defendants' prohibited conduct."