SAN FRANCISCO-At least four credit unions being sued for patent infringement over real-time transaction technology have agreed to settle the civil claims in exchange for license deals, with the final deal awaiting court approval.

The settlements by My Credit Union, Cal Poly FCU, 1st Commonwealth Central CU and PremierOne CU will settle claims brought by Pi-Net International over technology allowing their members to make transactions via their websites.

San Jose-based PremierOne is the product of a merger of San Jose CU and National 1st CU, both of which were being sued separately by Pi-Net.

In its suits, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Pi-Net International Inc. claims the credit unions are using technology patented by its owner, Dr. Lakshmi Arunachalam, between 1995 and 2012 while she worked at Bell Labs.

Pi-Net has filed patent infringement cases related to the technology against more than 50 entities over the past two years, including eight credit unions. Claims against several of the credit unions, including Inland Valley FCU, South Bay CU, Media City Community CU, 1st Valley CU, are still pending.

At least one defendant in the suits, SAP, has requested that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office conduct a post-patent review on the disputed technology, as required in the 2010 patent reform bill known as America Invents.


Switch In Patent System

The law switches the U.S. patent system from a "first to invent" to a "first inventor to file" system, eliminates interference proceedings, and develops post-grant opposition. Its central provisions went into effect on March 16.

Pi-Net International has also reached settlements in recent weeks with Bank of America, Sovereign Bank, First National Bank of Northern California, and a number of others.

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