Sacramento Intellectual Property Law Blog

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Protecting intellectual property can feel like a full time job for companies here in California and elsewhere. For those with patents for a product that draws in customers and makes a company’s services or products desirable, remaining vigilant and looking for those violating their rights under patent law can lead to litigation. For instance, the United Services Automobile Association filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo, alleging it infringed upon USAA’s patents for mobile deposit technology.

In fact, as far back as 2017, USAA warned numerous financial institutions about infringing on its patents for this service. At some point, the company, which provides financial services to military members and their families, decided to file a lawsuit against Wells Fargo. Recently, a jury reached a verdict regarding USAA’s claims against the other financial giant.

The jury awarded USAA around $200 million, which could give the company what it needs in order to pursue other lawsuits against other financial institutions. Like other companies with patented technology, USAA may license it to other companies in order to avoid litigation yet receive compensation for allowing others to use it. The problem is that not all companies will want to negotiate a license or pay for the right to use technology patented by another company.

Some California companies may face the same type of quandary. It would be preferable to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation by licensing patented material to others, but that does not always work out as planned. If a company believes someone is using its technology without permission, it would probably be a good idea to explore all of the available legal options under patent law before taking any action.

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