Apple sued for patent infringement over Apple Pay

“A small Boston company, founded by the inventor of a popular corporate encryption technology called RSA SecurID, sued Apple and Visa on Sunday, arguing that the Apple Pay digital payment technology violates its patents,” Vindu Goel reports for The New York Times.

“The lawsuit, filed by Universal Secure Registry in Federal District Court in Delaware, says that its chief executive, Kenneth P. Weiss, received 13 patents for authentication systems that use a smartphone, biometric identification such as a fingerprint and the generation of secure one-time tokens to conduct financial transactions,” Goel reports. “In the suit and in an interview, Mr. Weiss said he had extensive meetings in 2010 with Visa officials, including its chief executive at the time, to discuss working together on the technology. In the interview, he said that Visa had signed a 10-year nondisclosure agreement to gain access to the technology, assigned engineers to fully understand the details, but then dropped further communication without securing a license.”

“Three years later, Visa began work on the Apple Pay technology with Apple, MasterCard and American Express. Apple released Apple Pay to iPhone users in 2014,” Goel reports. “He said he is still hoping to reach some kind of agreement with Apple and Visa. ‘My intention is still to get into a conference room with them and resolve this,’ he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Well, this is what the courts are for. We’ll see if there’s any infringement of Universal Secure Registry’s patents by Visa and/or Apple in due course.


  1. I don’t know if Apple (and VISA) are guilty or not. If so, then they ought to pay up, especially if VISA initiated technology discussion meetings, as described.

    However, I have not seen the patents. Are they “real” patents or just more “idea” patents that should be banished from the Earth?

    Using a smartphone to make purchases? Prior art.
    Using biometric identification such as a fingerprint? Prior art.
    Generation of secure one-time tokens to conduct financial transactions? Prior art.

    Combining these things on the smartphone does not appear to represent an extraordinary extension of knowledge or technology. I know that I am biased in favor of Apple, in general. But I absolutely despise the proliferation of the “one-click purchasing” types of patents that have become the bread-and-butter of patent trolls.

    1. The RSA SecurID system is very real IRL. It’s not just a pile of dusty patents of questionable quality. See the link I posted in a comment below.

      As of 2003, RSA SecurID commanded over 70% of the two-factor authentication market and 25 million devices have been produced to date.

      IOW: They are clearly prior art to Apple Pay, if there has been any patent collision.

      As usual, I suspect blundering/underfunding at the USPTO will be in part to blame.

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