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Court dismisses patent infringement case
WASHINGTON (7/12/11)--A U.S. Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court's decision dismissing a mobile banking patent infringement case filed by MShift against Intuit, four credit unions and several banks. The decision was rendered Friday. MShift, based in Fremont, Calif. had filed the lawsuit initially against Digital Insight Corp. (DI), now called Intuit Financial Services (IFS), on Feb. 19, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for the California Northern District (San Francisco). Later it amended the suit to include the credit unions, eight banks, and Mobile Money Ventures (MVV), a mobile technology provider. The defendants' motion to dismiss before the lower court had alleged the patent in question is outmoded and "solves a problem that no longer exists." The credit unions named in the complaint include Meritrust CU, Wichita, Kan.; Professional FCU, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Fort Worth (Texas) Community CU; and USE CU, San Diego. The banks named in the suit were: Community Trust Bank, Sanford Institution for Savings, Gate City Bank, Busey Bank, Dension State Bank, Fidelity Bank, Internet Bank of Indiana and Vision Bank. MShift's suit alleged its patent for a system for converting wireless communications for a mobile device was infringed by Intuit and the others. The patent No. 6,950,881, referred to as Patent '881 in the suit, was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Sept. 27, 2005, to Awele Ndili, MShift's former CEO (News Now Sept. 15, 2010). The patent was for a "conversion engine" that provided language to translate the contents of a Web page so it could display on mobile phones. Originally mobile phones were text-based browsers that didn't speak the Web HTML language, and they could not display Web pages the same as the pages displayed on desktop computers, said the complaint. In addition to the translation language, MShift also restructured multiple text boxes, which were graphic features or "input entries," into standard links that could display on the mobile devices. According to the defendants' motion to dismiss the case, none of this technology is necessary today, and there is no "first language" and "second language" involved in conversions because most mobile devices display the pages the same as on desktop--without the need to restructure. The suit claimed MShift contracted with Digital Insight as a reseller of its technology. It sought damages for the patent infringement claim against all the defendants, a breach of contract against IFS, and unfair competition against IFS. However, in the decision affirmed Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals, the lower court had noted that "MShift has failed to meet its burden of showing the existence of genuine issues of material fact regarding whether the accused DI/MMV system infringes claim 20 of the '881 patent." It also "has not been able to uncover any competent evidence that the accused DI/MMV system works differently than how every witness and declarant has described under oath." "Not every patent case needs to churn on for years," said the lower court in the ruling that was affirmed. "Businesses have a legitimate need to know where they stand when accused of infringement…Mshift has now taken eleven depositions and has received over 186,000 pages of technical information in the months since the initial case management conference…It would be a waste of resources to allow MShift to go on additional fishing expeditions in vague hopes that something might turn up. Enough is enough." In a side note, Intuit announced two weeks ago it was expanding its mobile banking reach with the acquisition of MMV (Dow Jones Newswires June 27). Purchasing MMV gives Intuit ownership of all the technology used in Intuit’s mobile banking software provided to about 320 U.S. banks and credit unions.


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