Vanguard ID Systems, manufacturer of bar coded, magnetic stripe and radio frequency identification products, announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences has invalidated 51 claims of a 57-claim patent initially granted by the Office in 2002 to Bank of America for its Mini Visa Card, a small credit card that attaches to consumers' key rings.
(US Patent No. 6,471,127) Vanguard ID had requested reexamination of the patent based on Vanguard ID's patents and other prior transaction card technology.
Bank of America introduced the Bank of America Mini Visa Card in October 2002, distributing the Mini Card to millions of customers. The company inked a deal with Visa, the largest payment card platform in the world, giving it exclusive rights to issue the branded mini card for a one-year period. That agreement expired October 1, 2003, giving other banks the right to capitalize on this latest consumer craze and to develop and issue mini cards of their own. To date, an estimated 50 million Mini Cards have been issued.
Vanguard ID Systems, founded in 1987 by inventor Rick Warther, challenged patents related to mag-striping technology behind the non-standard transaction cards. The Company holds a portfolio of patents used in development of a variety of products in the data and credit card industry, and created Mag Tag®, the first-ever key tag to incorporate magnetic strip and bar code technology.
"We are pleased our intellectual property has been vindicated and that we can continue to deliver high-quality innovations to our customers," said Rick Warther, founder and CEO of Vanguard ID Systems, Inc. "The technology developed by Vanguard ID Systems provides credit card issuers the tools to develop products consumers are demanding, offering them the opportunity to tap into hundreds of millions of dollars in market potential."