Intellectual Ventures must have felt pretty confident when it launched its patent enforcement campaign against the nation’s largest banks in 2013. Over that summer, the patent monetization giant sued about a dozen financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., PNC Bank NA and Capital One NA on the banks’ home turfs of New York, Charlotte, Pittsburgh and Alexandria, Virginia, respectively. IV accused the banks of infringing patents that cover technology used in ATMs, credit and debit transactions, and online and mobile banking.
But much has changed in patent law over just the last three years, and the campaign surely hasn’t worked out as IV envisioned. The banks and their allies invoked the America Invents Act, filing some 30 petitions for inter partes or covered business method review at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with at least 20 of these matters ending adversely for IV. Meanwhile the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 tightened eligibility standards for software patents, leading to a series of invalidations in court.
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