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Wells Fargo told to pay $102M in patent verdict

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Wells Fargo was told to pay $102.8 million after a federal jury in Texas said it infringed United Services Automobile Association’s patents for a mobile deposit system.

It’s the second trial Wells Fargo has lost against USAA. In November, a different Texas jury said the bank should pay $200 million for infringing two other patents. That brings the total to about $303 million owed by Wells Fargo. The San Francisco-based bank said it “strongly disagrees” with the verdict and said it’s considering its option, including a likely appeal.

San Antonio-based USAA said it had pioneered systems to allow its members to deposit checks from just about anywhere because it doesn’t operate traditional bricks-and-mortar banks and its military customers are all over the world.

“Wells Fargo, and the rest of the banking industry, has benefited from our technology and we look forward to working with banks to create reasonable and mutually beneficial license agreements,” Nathan McKinley, USAA’s vice president of corporate development, said in a statement. “Our goal has always been to be reasonably compensated for the investment in mobile banking innovation we have made on behalf of our members and the military community.”

Wells Fargo said it and other financial institutions license technology from Mitek Systems, which filed its own lawsuit Nov. 1 against USAA in California. Mitek is seeking a court ruling that its technology didn’t infringe USAA patents, saying the lawsuit against Wells Fargo had “placed a cloud over Mitek’s products and services.”

“We believe this is an industry issue involving numerous other banks that license remote mobile deposit technology from the same vendor, not USAA,” Beth Richek, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Wells Fargo has been and continues to be a leader in enabling seamless payments and mobile banking experiences, and this ruling has no impact on our customers’ ability to remotely deposit checks or the company’s work to provide innovative tools and technologies to our customers.”

Bloomberg News