Credit unions are pushing for passage of a patent reform bill that the Senate is likely to vote on this week that could limit their exposure to patent infringement lawsuits.
The Senate is likely to pass the measure that would make it harder for holders of "business method" patents which cover processes such as electronic filing of documents, to sue financial institutions such as credit unions.
Under the bill, credit unions and banks accused of patent infringement have the right to demand a review of the patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It passed the House in June.
CUNA, NAFCU and CUNA Mutual have been among the credit union-related entities that have been lobbying for the measure, which is also backed by the banking lobby.
“This will stop frivolous lawsuits and thus save credit unions money,’’ said John McKechnie, who has lobbied on the issue for CUNA Mutual.
The Senate voted 93-5 on Tuesday to proceed with consideration of the measure.
In June, two CUSOs and three credit unions were among defendants named in a patent lawsuit brought by London-based technology vendor Serverside Group.
The firm, which provides design, marketing and printing services to the international card payment industry, alleges the defendants “infringed upon U.S. patent right as to financial transaction card customization technology,” according to a company press release.
The defendants included CUSOs PSCU Financial Services in Florida and The Members Group in Iowa. The credit unions named are the $1.3 billion Anheuser-Busch Employees CU and the $274 million Neighbors CU, both in St. Louis and the $753 million Credit Union 1 of Anchorage.