E-Pass technologies has filed a patent infringement action against Visa International and Visa USA in Federal Court in Oakland, California.
The complaint states that Visas personnel, including then vice president of product development, Susan Gordon-Lathrop, met with Hardy Hennige, inventor of the E-Pass patents, at Visa headquarters in February of 2000 to discuss Hennige's patented ideas for a portable e-commerce device.
During that meeting, Hennige alleges that he distributed his patent to the Visa attendees, and discussed his efforts to commercialise his ideas. According to the complaint, once the meeting adjourned, Hennige heard no more from Visa.
However, almost a year later, Visa's Gordon-Lathrop stood onstage at the 2001 Consumer Electronics Show with Palm's then CEO Carl Yankowski, and allegedly demonstrated one of the several E-Pass patented inventions.
Visa's response to the complaint is due at the end of this week.
In a related matter, E-pass' motion was granted to reactivate its patent litigation against Microsoft and Compaq in the Federal Court in Houston, Texas, despite defense counsel's statement that defendants would vigorously oppose reactivation of the case. The order restoring the case was signed by the US District Court Judge in late October.
This follows similar infringement action against Palm & 3com.