After a 10 day jury trial, a jury found U.S. Bancorp liable for almost $3.3 million in damages for infringing upon a patent covering check-processing technology owned by Solutran, Inc. (”Solutran”). Solutran’s U.S. Patent No. 8,311,945 covers a method for processing paper checks whereby data regarding a transaction captured at a merchant’s point of purchase is later matched against a scanned image of a check at a remote location. The jury rejected U.S. Bancorp’s argument that the patent was obvious based on prior art, and found that almost 100 million of the bank’s transactions had infringed on Solutran’s patent.
The U.S. Bancorp case should serve as notice to both service providers and banks. Service providers and banks who process paper checks should confirm they are not infringing on Solutran’s patented method to avoid potentially significant liability. Banks that rely on third parties for check processing should review their contracts with service providers to ensure that proper indemnification language is included in the governing agreements.