The European Central Bank has won an appeal in a French court against Document Security Systems (DSS), the New York-based provider of anti-counterfeit software that filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the central bank in 2005.
The ECB won the appeal - one of nine filed by DSS around Europe - at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris, with the court ruling that the DSS patent was invalid.
DMC filed a patent infringement suit against the ECB in August 2005 alleging that the euro banknotes produced by the ECB infringe a European patent it holds that covers a method of incorporating an anti-counterfeiting feature into bank notes to protect against forgeries by digital scanning and copying devices.
In 2006 the ECB filed claims to invalidate the patent with courts in France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium.
In March the ECB won its case in the UK but lost in Germany, where a court upheld DSS' patent. The ECB is appealing the Germany ruling, whilst DSS is fighting the UK verdict. A Dutch court is expected to rule on the issue next Month.
In a statement DSS says it also intends to appeal the French ruling. Patrick White, chairman and CEO of DSS, says: "Regardless of France's validity ruling or really any European country going forward, Germany's decision still validates our patent, which we believe will have dramatic consequences for the ECB far beyond German borders."
"It is important to remember that the ECB was required to win in all nine European countries where they filed invalidity proceedings in order to achieve a complete invalidation of the patent and to stop a patent infringement lawsuit from moving forward," adds White. "Our victory in Germany is really all the 'win' we need as it has given Document Security Systems the ability to move forward on an infringement lawsuit and seek real monetary damages for the unauthorised use of our patent."
Wolfgang von Meibom, a lawyer representing the ECB told Bloomberg reporters that the ruling by two separate courts in the ECB's favour sets a good precedent for the central bank in the pending cases.