Apple, Visa face USR patent suit over Apple Pay

Boston-based Universal Secure Registry LLC (USR) said it filed a complaint in US District Court for the District of Delaware alleging Apple, Visa and Visa’s subsidiary Visa U.S.A. infringed “seminal” patents for electronic payments and identity authentication that paved the way for their mobile payment platforms.

USR founder and CEO Kenneth Weiss “was the first in the space, and the secure payment technology that he developed goes right to the core of Apple Pay,” according to the filing, USR said.

USR is represented by law firm Quinn Emanuel.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and claims that “since 2014 Apple’s backend servers and Visa’s payment processing network VisaNet, including Visa Token Service, have supported and processed transactions made using Apple Pay, including billions of Apple Pay transactions made in the United States.”

Weiss said: “USR has set forth facts in the complaint which we believe will lead to discovery that will support claims of willful infringement against both Apple and Visa.”

Apple and Visa did not comment.

USR claimed that in 2010, prior to the launch of Apple Pay in 2014, Weiss realized the promise of USR’s new patented technology and approached Apple and Visa in an attempt to partner with the companies to develop commercial implementation of the technology.

USR said the lawsuit claims that “during the meeting with Visa, USR made detailed presentations of the patented technology under protection of a non-disclosure agreement” — but no partnership was struck.

However, according to the lawsuit “Apple and Visa began working together on Apple Pay at least as early as January 2013, and Visa dedicated approximately 1,000 people towards the development project with Apple.”

Weiss said: “It is not uncommon for large companies to be unresponsive to outside suggestions for innovation or improvements to their product or technology.

“Occasionally, these companies infringe patents and force a patent owner to file a lawsuit as the only way to financially benefit from the technology he invented.”