Apple Slapped with Digital Payment Patent Suit

| News

Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Officemax and several other companies recently found themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit that claimed they use patented technology without authorization in their online store payment systems. Actus, the company that owns the patents in question, is alleging that the concept of storing data so customers can make online purchases after creating a user account belongs to it, so the companies it is suing need to pay up.

Like nearly every other company, Actus filed its suit in the patent case-friendly town of Marshall, Texas. The U.S. District Court offices in Marshall have a reputation for favoring plaintiffs in patent violation cases.

The Actus patents, titled "Method and apparatus for conducting electronic commerce transactions using electronic tokens," describe a system where shoppers buy or rent products online using a pre-paid account or stored credit card information. For Apple's part, the company is presumably referring to iTunes Allowances payment system.

Actus points specifically to Apple's online store, the iTunes Store and what it calls the "iPhone Apps Store." The company is asking the court to award it repayment for legal expenses along with damages.

[Thanks to AppleInsider for the heads up.]

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Dean Lewis

The Patent Office gave Actus a patent on storing data? So, when is Oracle going to sue Actus?


Excuse me?  Online stores have been doing this how many years? Isn’t adding the convenience of a shopper ID for repeat shoppers the next logical step?  How old is this so called patent, because I have using online store IDs for 6 or 7 years now.


This “patent” doesn’t really sound like it has anything novel or unique except possibly software.  But software isn’t patentable.  Is their “apparatus” anything more than a server? 

Based on basic facts of this case, I cannot see any merit in this.



This is getting ridiculous!

Wait! I have an idea. I’ll patent thinking!

So everyone stop thinking if you haven’t paid the license fee.

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