If At First You Don't Succeed As A Patent Troll, Just Sue Again

from the why-not dept

The excellent new Patent Examiner blog has a post up about a company called SmartMetric, which claims to be in the business of making biometric technologies, but admits it hasn't actually made any money doing that. Instead, it seems to be in the business of being a patent troll. Despite the fact that banks and others have been testing variations on "smart card" technology for many decades, SmartMetric ended up with patent 6,792,464, which it claims covers all kinds of smartcards. Last year, it sued Visa, MasterCard and American Express. And lost.

But why worry about that when it can just sue again?

Yes, even as it's appealing the initial loss, the company has sued the same companies a second time using a nearly identical filing. You can see both filings embedded below. Feel free to do a diff on the two, but Patent Examiner summarizes the two cases this way:
This new lawsuit against MasterCard and Visa concerns both “contact” and “contactless” smart cards (the former are inserted into a card reader, the latter only need to be placed in proximity to a reader), while SmartMetric’s first lawsuit against the credit companies only referred to contactless card systems.
So, basically, after losing, they're just trying to expand what they claim the patent covers. It's hard to see this as anything more than a standard patent troll shakedown of a company that doesn't do anything demanding cash from the companies who do things... even when those things are obvious next steps that were discussed decades before the troll came on the scene.

Filed Under: patent troll, patents
Companies: american express, mastercard, smartmetric, visa

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  1. icon
    Richard (profile), 28 Sep 2011 @ 6:25am

    Re: Newbs

    You're right!

    That sounds like a nice non-obvious idea though - I'd better go patent it!

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