Google seems to have infringed a lot of patents in the technologies it uses, because almost every day we see a new that says Google or its products or the companies that search giant has acquired have been sued for patent infringement. Today, Google Wallet has been sued in the Federal District Court of Delaware. If you do not know what Google Wallet is for some odd reason, it is a mobile payment option which uses NFC on your smart phone to pay your bills at stores.
The patent in question is the U.S. Patent No. 7,298,271 (the ’271 patent). According to Google, “Google Wallet is a virtual wallet that securely stores your credit and debit cards, offers, and rewards cards. You can tap your phone to pay in-store using Google Wallet anywhere contactless payments are accepted. You can pay online by signing into your Google Wallet account.”
NFC has been popular in Japan for years and there are a few countries which have adopted NFC and mobile payment very widely. So the claim seems to have happened at a very odd timing. The ’271 patent is entitled “Method and apparatus for providing awards using transponders.”
Filed on the 19th of September, 2005, the patent was issued on the 20th of November, 2007. Peter Sprogis is the inventor of the technology according to the listing on the patent, and also seems to be the plaintiff. The image shows here ns the Figure 1 from the filing.
The claim which relates to the case is given below:
33. A system for encouraging customer patronage by providing awards to customers comprising:
a) one or more electronic data storage elements containing identifying information;
b) electronic data storage element readers capable of reading said identifying information from said electronic data storage elements;
c) an awards processing center that provides awards to one or more participant(s) in an awards program when said participant transmits the identifying information from said electronic data storage element to the awards processing center.
It is to see where this patent infringement claim will take Google.