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Apple Pay accused of violating patents after inventor held discussions with Visa, pitched Apple

Apple has been accused of violating the patents of a Boston-based company through its launch of Apple Pay. Universal Secure Registry CEO Kenneth Weiss says he ‘was the first in the space, and the secure payment technology that he developed goes right to the core of Apple Pay.’

In an interview, Weiss says that the patents cover all three key elements of Apple Pay.

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.

While it’s not unusual for more than one company to be simultaneously working on the same technology, Weiss says that in this case both Visa and Apple were aware of his technology four years prior to the launch of Apple Pay …

In 2010, prior to the launch of Apple Pay in 2014, Weiss realizing the promise of USR’s new patented technology approached the world’s largest corporation, Apple Inc., and Visa Inc., the largest payment network in the United States, in attempt to partner with the companies to develop commercial implementation of the technology. Weiss reached out to both corporations with letters and meeting requests to discuss his cutting-edge technology. The lawsuit states, “during the meeting with Visa, USR made detailed presentations of the patented technology under protection of a non-disclosure agreement.” After these attempts, 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.”

In an interview with the NY Times, Weiss said that he was filing the lawsuit before asking for royalties on the advice of his lawyers.

Universal Secure Registry did not seek a license agreement or royalties from Apple or Visa after the release of Apple Pay. Mr. Weiss said the law firm representing his company, the patent specialists Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, advised him to file the suit first.

Those lawyers do at least have experience in court battles with Apple.

Quinn Emanuel, which filed the Apple Pay suit on behalf of Universal Secure Registry, represented Samsung Electronics in some of its long-running patent litigation with Apple over software in its Android-based smartphones.

Apple declined to comment when approached by the NYT, and Visa did not respond.

It’s of course not unusual for Apple to be sued for patent infringement by companies large and small, in cases with and without merit.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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