In a ruling that will affect hundreds of credit unions, a federal judge agreed Friday to dismiss a suit by MShift claiming that Intuit Financial Services, formerly Digital Insight Corp., is infringing on its patent for mobile banking.
Scott Moeller, president and founder of MShift, immediately vowed to appeal the judge’s ruling granting the defendants, which includes Intuit, Mobile Money Ventures LLC, a joint venture between Citigroup and South Korea’s SK Telecom, and several credit unions, a summary judgement. "For whatever reason, the judge did not credit MShift's substantial evidence of infringement. We strongly believe the judge's analysis included several significant errors in how he evaluated the highly technical issues relating to the '881 patent and the accused technology,” said Moeller. “This was quite a surprise to us,” Moeller told the Credit Union Journal this morning. “We’ll be filing an appeal later this week.”
The so-called 881 Patent, entitled a "System for Converting Wireless Communications for a Mobile Device," was awarded to MShift by the U.S. Patent Office in 2005. It allows smart phones and other mobile devices to access network sites by means of an adapt ion or conversion engine, which translates between the language of the network site (for example HTML) and the language of the mobile device (HTML, HDML or WAP).
MShift was one of the first technology providers out of the box with mobile banking and first contracted with Digital Insight for a referral deal, then as reseller. But that relationship ended in late 2009 when Digital Insight, now known as Intuit Financial Services, signed with Mobile Money Ventures to provide its credit union and bank customers with mobile banking technology.
The MShift technology has been popular among early credit union providers of mobile banking, with Patelco CU and The Golden 1 CU among the first customers, and Alliance CU, Visions FCU, Bank-Fund Staff FCU, Digital FCU and Xceed FCU, contracting later through MShift's relationship with Digital Insight, which later was acquired by Intuit.
The defendants argue that when MShift applied for the patent in 2000, cell phone browsers did not "speak" the same language (HTML) that was used to display Web pages on most desktop browsers. MShift's "conversion engine" translated the contents of a Web page from one language (HTML) into another language that could be understood and displayed on mobile devices.
Named as codefendants in the suit are: Meritrust CU, Professional FCU, Fort Worth Community CU, USE CU, as well as Community Trust Bank, Sanford Institution for Savings, Gate City Bank, Busey Bank, Dension State Bank, Fidelity Bank, Internet Bank of Indiana and Vision Bank.
MShift expects to file its notice of appeal within the next two weeks. After that, a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will review the district judge's decision.