Visa sued over alleged SMS alert patent infringement

Visa sued over alleged SMS alert patent infringement

Visa has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly infringing a patent covering the notification and authorisation of transactions via text messages sent to cardholders' mobile phones.

The suit has been filed by Miami-based Charge Notification Services Corporation (CNSC), which is run by card industry veterans Ivan Ochoa as CEO and COO Daniel Davila.

According to legal newswire Law360, the firm filed a suit last Thursday in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, claiming Visa had advertised a service that infringed several claims of the patent.

Back in August Visa revealed plans to pilot an automated alerting system that will notify cardholders of transaction activity via SMS text message and e-mail.

It partnered PNC Bank, SunTrust Bank, US Bank, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo in the US, along with Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank Financial and Vancity in Canada, and said at the time that it began testing mobile notifications the previous year with an internal employee pilot.

Ochoa says the lawsuit comes after CNSC spent several months trying to work with Visa "with no results".

"As Visa continues to infringe on our patent, we really must take this legal action against them to protect our business," adds Davila.

Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 27 February, 2009, 12:53Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This is patently nonsense.

Although I don't know the circumstances of the two guys (apologies to them if they have been genuinely screwed over) I was involved in card-based transaction alerts over SMS nearly a decade ago.

I don't know which is more irritating: (a) the fact that agencies are stupid enough to award patents for common sense or (b) the fact that it takes more than ten years for the cards industry to implement common sense.


Jonathan Rosenne
Jonathan Rosenne - QSM Programming Ltd. - Tel Aviv 28 February, 2009, 11:52Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Isn't is similar to this:

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 01 March, 2009, 07:51Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

What do you think of Chase's big announcement of their First Watch Intelligence patent? Chase's patent which claims "receiving a phone call from a customer and determining the caller's state of mind...".

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 02 March, 2009, 10:56Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I'm with Lui on this one, 100%.  It's not like SMS text alerts are new: I have been receiving them from First Direct for years.  Sometimes they charge for them, sometimes they don't, so they have been around for a number of banking economic cycles at least.

How is this new and innovative?      

I look at Marite's comment, and it made me wonder if anyone has patented the vital, but hitherto undocumented, business operation of answering the phone when it rings.  I reckon it probably hasn't been patented, and if we are quick, we can register our idea and make a fortune by requiring all new phones deployed in a business environment to incorporate an answerometer.  The answerometer would be ip connected, and therefore able to report usage back to central servers supporting the generation of customer friendly, itemised billing services.  We just hang back and wait for the money to roll in.

Or maybe I could patent the idea of getting up in the morning and going to work ... !