Actus, a recently formed US holding company, is suing 20 companies, including Bank of America, MasterCard, Obopay and Visa, accusing them of infringing four patents related to an electronic payments system for e-commerce.
Actus, a holding firm based in Texas, filed a suit against the companies in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas last week.
The other defendants are Blaze Mobile, Capital One, Enable Holdings, Google, Green Dot, Javien Digital Payments Solutions, JP Morgan Chase, Meta Financial Group, M&T Bank, Sonic Solutions, Vivendi Universal, Walt Disney, Western Union, WildTangent, AgileCo and Wal-Mart.
The patents in question relate to "methods and apparatus for conducting electronic commerce using electronic tokens", where digital currency is used by customers for online payments.
According to the abstracts for the patents: "The electronic tokens are issued and maintained by a vendor, who also provides products and services that can be purchased or rented using the electronic tokens. The electronic tokens may be purchased from the vendor either on-line, using a credit card, or off-line, using a check, money order, purchase order, or other payment means."
The patent applications were originally filed by a company called PayByClick, with Marvin T Ling listed as the inventor.
According to legal newswire Law360, gift cards offered by Bank of America, JP Morgan, Visa, and others, are among the products accused of infringing the patents. Google's Checkout service is also named.
Actus is seeking a permanent injunction against further infringement and unspecified damages. The suit also seeks treble damages because Actus says the patents were infringed wilfully.