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Lawsuits say banks’ biometric authentication tech infringes on patents

Citibank, PNC Bank sued
Lawsuits say banks’ biometric authentication tech infringes on patents

Two big U.S. banks are facing legal action for allegedly incorporating biometric authentication features such as fingerprint and facial recognition into their mobile banking apps without the knowledge or permission of the patent holder, according to a report from Bloomberg Law.

The company in question, PACid Technologies LLC, is suing both Citibank N.A. and PNC Bank N.A. for infringement of six U.S. patents covering biometric authentication systems (nos. 9,577,993; 9,876,771; 10,044,689; 10,171,433; 10,484,344; and 11,070,530). The two lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas are separate but essentially make the same allegation regarding the same technology.

The complainant claims that the patents, which are “directed to technical advancements arising within the fields of user authentication and security of communications among computing devices,” are “directed to systems and methods that were not well-understood, routine, or conventional at the time of the application.”

In other words, in stating that “all claims of the Patents include specific claim limitations directed to new, novel, and non-conventional approaches to authentication,” PACid Technologies is calling out the banks for incorporating specific, sophisticated, FIDO-based authentication tools it has the rights to.

“With knowledge of its infringement of the Patents,” reads language in both claims, “Defendant advertises the FIDO-based authentication functionality of its FIDO-Ready Software and FIDO-Ready System and intentionally encourages, directs, and/or controls customers to use the infringing authentication functionality by providing services and instructions for the installation of its FIDO-Ready Software and the infringing operation of its FIDO-Ready Software and FIDO-Ready System to its customers, who, like Defendant, directly infringe through the operation of those products.”

According to Law.com, rampant patent litigation is an issue across the state of Texas.

Since the 2018 appointment of District Court Judge Alan Albright, the Western District of Texas has notoriously been the top spot for patent lawsuits in the U.S., with Albright maintaining a virtual monopoly over local patent litigation from his seat in Waco. In 2022, when Albright was overseeing almost 25 percent of all patent cases in the United States, Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia legislated a redistribution of patent cases aimed at loosening Albright’s stranglehold.

PACid has filed several biometric authentication patent infringement lawsuits against large companies in the Western District of Texas before, including a 2018 case it brought against Samsung.

A configuration error made PACid’s website unavailable at the time of publication.

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