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PNC Owes USAA $218 Million Over Mobile Check Deposit Patents (1)

May 13, 2022, 11:53 PMUpdated: May 14, 2022, 12:54 AM

A federal jury decided PNC Bank N.A. owes over $218 million for infringing United Services Automobile Association‘s patented mobile-check deposit technology, continuing USAA’s run of success enforcing its patents in Eastern Texas.

A federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas delivered a verdict late Friday, awarding USAA $218.45 million, according to Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who oversaw the case. The trial began Monday at a Marshall, Texas, courthouse.

Jurors also found PNC’s infringement was willful, which allows Gilstrap to potentially increase the damages award up to three times.

Nathan McKinley, USAA’s vice president of corporate development, said in a statement the verdict “further validates our position that we created mobile deposit capture technology.” McKinley said USAA’s goal has been to be reasonably compensated for its investment and looks “forward to working with banks to create reasonable and mutually beneficial license agreements.”

PNC said it was disappointed in the verdict but added that it was the first of many steps as it works through the post-trial and appellate process.

“We remain confident that in the end we will prevail as to all of the patents USAA has asserted,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

USAA sued PNC in September 2020, coming off of two jury trial victories against Wells Fargo & Co. in which USAA won over a combined $302 million. Those cases, which Wells Fargo later settled, involved some of the same patents PNC was accused of infringing.

PNC denied infringing the patents. It also argued the patents are invalid.

USAA has said it pioneered remote check deposit to allow its members to deposit checks across the world. Unlike traditional banks, which have brick-and-mortar branches and ATMs, USAA said it typically interacts with its members remotely.

Gilstrap on May 9 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation and dismissed PNC’s arguments that USAA’s patents are invalid because they cover only abstract ideas. The magistrate judge noted Wells Fargo had made similar arguments.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed to review the validity of one USAA patent in January, based on a challenge by PNC. A final decision is due early next year.

Irell & Manella LLP and Parker Bunt & Ainsworth PC represent USAA. WilmerHale, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP, and Gillam Smith LLP represent PNC.

The case is United Services Auto. Ass’s v. PNC Bank N.A., E.D. Tex., No. 20-cv-00319, 5/13/22.

(Updated with comments from USAA and PNC.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Bultman in New York at mbultman@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com; Laurel Brubaker Calkins at laurel@calkins.us.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tonia Moore at tmoore@bloombergindustry.com; Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com; Meghashyam Mali at mmali@bloombergindustry.com