On November 6, a jury in the Eastern District of Texas awarded the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) a $200 million verdict finding that Wells Fargo willfully infringed two of USAA’s patents directed to the “auto-capture” process, which is used by banking customers to deposit checks using photographs taken from a mobile phone or other device. (Civ. No. 2:18-cv-00245 (E.D. Tex.)) Based on the finding of willfulness, USAA may be entitled to enhanced damages beyond the $200 million verdict.
Despite the verdict, the fight between Wells Fargo and USAA is still ongoing. Wells Fargo filed patent office challenges to the validity of USAA’s patents, which are still pending before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board, but may not be decided for another 15 months. In addition, Wells Fargo will likely appeal the decision, including a recent denial of summary judgment that found the patents were not invalid under 35 U.S.C. 101. Nevertheless, the verdict against Wells Fargo will likely embolden USAA to assert its patents against other banks and financial institutions that use an “auto-capture” process.