Targets of patent 'troll’ include First National Bank -
Published Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 5:37 pm
Targets of patent 'troll’ include First National Bank

First National Bank of Omaha has been sued by an intellectual property company that says the country’s largest privately owned bank is infringing upon its computer-related patents.

Intellectual Ventures, based in Bellevue, Wash., filed a civil lawsuit against First National late last month in U.S. District Court in Omaha. The suit says First National’s systems infringe upon patents owned by Intellectual Ventures on matters related to computer security for electronic transactions.

The suit also cites firewalls, cryptography and distribution of digital property as areas in which its patents have been infringed by First National. The suit seeks a jury trial and unspecified compensatory damages.

First National, the largest bank based in Nebraska with $16 billion of assets, had no comment, said spokesman Kevin Langin, citing a policy on pending litigation. Attempts to reach officials with Intellectual Ventures were unsuccessful.

Intellectual Ventures was formed in 2000 by a former top executive at Seattle-based software giant Microsoft Corp. It buys patents related to computing and computer systems, speculating they will be worth more in the future.

The First National lawsuit, one of several filed recently against banks nationally, says Intellectual Ventures owns 70,000 patents and has earned about $3 billion since 2000.

The company has attracted a degree of controversy, said Christal Sheppard, a patent law professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law. She said Intellectual Ventures buys broadly worded computer technology patents from their inventors, waits for businesses to infringe upon them, then sues.

“Some people call them a patent troll,” Sheppard said. “The politically correct term is patent assertion entity.”

The five patents at issue in the First National suit date from as long ago as 1998 and as recently as 2009, according to the lawsuit.

Sheppard said such cases usually get settled out of court, as companies figure it will cost less than years of legal fees in preparation for a trial they might not win.

The U.S. Congress, Sheppard said, is aware of the patent controversy surrounding computing, and the enormous costs that must be shouldered by companies seeking to defend allegations of patent infringement over computer technology. She said there are three or four bills that address the topic.

Contact the writer:


Contact the writer: Russell Hubbard    |   402-444-3133

Russell Hubbard covers banking, financial services, corporate finance, TD Ameritrade, business lawsuits, bankruptcies and other economic and financial topics.

Technology – including Google Glass – gets a try-on at Omaha Infotec conference
New Hastings business helps your personal history live on
Alibaba stake fuels Yahoo stock’s rise
Business digest: Big banks might need to hold more capital, Yellen says
18-year-old's fashion-design company wins Maverick Business Plan Competition
In brief: Zebra to spend more than $3 billion on Motorola business
Union Pacific's ‘Big Boy’ locomotive takes the road back to life
Beals: Boy offers lessons of service, simplicity
Caterer's move to downtown Omaha warehouse means new jobs, event center
Crew working to disassemble International Nutrition plant
Heinz offers buyouts to all Pittsburgh workers
SBA loan activity up in Nebraska
Banker leads Omaha branch's 'Happy' dance video
5 things to know about tax day
Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger 'fiesta ducks' on sale at Berkshire meeting
Nebraska Crossing Outlets stores, layout
West Corp. deal to expand its alert business
Tech talent, tax incentives help lure MindMixer to Kansas City
The Record: Bankruptcies, April 15
More have had personal information stolen
In brief: Retail sales gain is best since 2012
Tablets, apps for kids become big business
For junior bankers, a day off doesn’t shrink workload
The Record: Building permits, April 15
Part-time college professors push for higher pay
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Shoreline Golf Club
$40 for 2 Players, 18 Holes of Golf with Cart ($85 Value)
Buy Now
< >
Inside Business
To submit an announcement for "Inside Business", click here. For questions call (402) 444-1371 or e-mail
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »