Judge Doubles U.S. Bank’s Payment in Patent Case

A Texas judge ordered U.S. Bank to pay an additional $26.6 million for infringing on DataTreasury's patents relating to banking and check imaging.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank, NA, was ordered by a Texas judge on Monday to pay an additional $26.6 million for infringing on DataTreasury Corporation's patents-double the original amount of damages that U.S. Bank was ordered to pay.

In March, a jury found that U.S. Bank infringed on two of DataTreasury's patents relating to banking and check imaging and ordered the company to pay $26.6 million in damages.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge David Folsom awarded additional damages totaling $26.6 million-double the original amount-saying that the bank's size and financial condition weigh in favor of enhancement to “more effectively punish the willful infringement found by the jury.”

Plano, Texas-based DataTreasury's patent problems have been going on for years. In 2002, it filed suits against more than 50 banks and check-clearing companies, alleging that several of its patents relating to banking and check imaging had been violated.

It claimed that several corporations and banks-including U.S. Bank-repeatedly ignored or refused to seek a lawful license to use its intellectual property, which prompted the company to take legal action.

Many of those banks and companies settled with DataTreasury, and the remaining 12 defendants were assigned to three separate trials. Damages sought by DataTreasury total nearly $1.6 billion.

Bank of America accounts for the largest portion of damages sought-55 percent of the total amount. U.S. Bank accounted for about $202 million, or 13 percent of the total damages sought.

Following Monday's ruling, U.S. Bank issued the following statement: “We are disappointed with the court's recent rulings but remain confident that U.S. Bank did not infringe the patents at issue and that the patents will ultimately be held invalid. U.S. Bank will pursue all avenues to protect its rights and will appeal.”

U.S. Bancorp, U.S. Bank's holding company, is among Minnesota's 10-largest public companies based on its 2008 revenue, which totaled $14.7 billion. Revenue for its 2009 fiscal year totaled $16.7 billion.

-Melissa Loth