Google Wallet targeted in patent infringement suit


Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is the target of a new lawsuit alleging its Wallet contactless payment system infringes on a patent issued in late 2007.

According to the suit filed in Federal District Court of Delaware Tuesday, plaintiff Peter Sprogis first filed to patent his "method and apparatus for providing awards using transponders" in September 2005. The patent includes "a system for encouraging customer patronage by providing awards to customers comprising: (a) one or more electronic data storage elements containing identifying information; (b) electronic data storage element readers capable of reading said identifying information from said electronic data storage elements; (c) an awards processing center that provides awards to one or more participant(s) in an awards program when said participant transmits the identifying information from said electronic data storage element to the awards processing center."

"Based on my initial review of the Google Wallet website, I did not find any awards being provided by the Google Wallet program," Leonid Kravets, a patent attorney at Philadelphia's Panitch, Schwarze, Belisario and Nadel LLC, writes for TechCrunch. "Google only states that '[y]ou may earn reward points for purchases through your card issuer's credit or debit card rewards program (such as gas, grocery and restaurants purchases, overall spending, and purchase protection or insurance), if applicable… Your card issuer (not Google Wallet or The Bancorp Bank) determines and is responsible for whether rewards points or other benefits apply to these purchases.' Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the plaintiffs are interpreting the claims, in order to determine if this case has any legs."

Google Wallet, first launched in 2011, enables consumers to make purchases by tapping their device at more than 200,000 MasterCard PayPass-enabled merchant terminals across the U.S. Google Wallet also includes support for SingleTap, which allows users to redeem coupons and/or earn rewards points, as well as Featured Offers, which spotlights exclusive discounts from select retailers.

For more:
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