SAN FRANCISCO — When the Federal Circuit affirms summary judgment of noninfringement, that’s usually considered bad news for the patent holder.

But SmartMetric Inc., a tiny, publicly traded company that’s been litigating patent claims against Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. for the past four years, put a different spin on things. “SmartMetric Wins on Major Points in Its Appeal in the Federal Appeals Court,” it announced in a press release following the April 2012 decision.

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