Perpetual litigant Data Treasury's recent $27 million patent infringement verdict against US Bank, Viewpointe and other codefendants was a stinging loss in the bank's gamble that Data Treasury's electronic check processing patents wouldn't hold up in court, and marks the latest spanking the banking industry has taken in patent cases.

The Data Treasury vs. US Bank verdict, from a court district in East Texas where juries notoriously favor patent holders, was a blow, but not altogether surprising: First, nearly 30 other firms, including JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup, have already cried 'uncle' and signed licensing deals with Data Treasury for use of the technology, forking over more than $350 million. Second, it's tough to imagine a jury finding in favor of a big bank these days, given the industry's battered status.

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