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A lawsuit launched this week accuses Apple and Visa of patent infringement via Apple Pay, in fact suggesting that one or both of the companies stole core ideas behind the platform.
The suit filed by Universal Secure Registry notes that its CEO — Kenneth Weiss — holds 13 patents on concepts used in Apple Pay, including smartphone authentication, biometric identification, and one-time payment tokens, according to The New York Times. Weiss is perhaps best known as the inventor of RSA SecurID, a popular authentication standard.
Weiss says that in 2010 he met with Visa's CEO and other officials about working on the patented concepts. Visa allegedly signed a 10-year nondisclosure agreement and even delegated engineers to understanding the technology, but then suddenly went radio silent without a license.
Around the same time, Weiss claims to have written to Apple about potential patent licenses without any response. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express began helping on Apple Pay in 2013 — the technology eventually rolled out in Oct. 2014.
While Universal Secure Registry didn't pursue licensing or royalties at that point, Weiss told the Times that the lawfirm representing his company — Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan — advised he file suit first. Quinn Emanuel previously represented Samsung in some of its battles with Apple.
Weiss nevertheless said he's hoping to reach an out-of-court settlement. "My intention is still to get into a conference room with them and resolve this," he remarked.
Universal Secure Registry has had no luck securing licenses with major companies, and is now reportedly building its own wireless authentication device.
Apple Pay has been relatively slow to spread and take root. On Sunday, however, the head of the platform, Jennifer Bailey, told The Telegraph that U.K. transactions have jumped 300 percent in the past year, and that over half of wireless payment terminals in country can now accept Apple Pay transactions over 30. The limit is normally imposed on wireless transactions to prevent fraud.
Bailey suggested that future Apple technology will replace other parts of the wallet beyond credit and debit cards, but didn't go into details.
"If you think about all the things in your wallet, we're thinking about all those things, we're probably actively working on most of them," she said. "We're starting with payments. Some are longer term, we see this as a long term journey rather than something we can solve in the next 12 months."