An Obscure Lawsuit Seeks To Threaten A Tech Titan’s Key Business

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Ailan Evans Deputy Editor
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  • Fintiv, a small Texas company with a host of technology patents, is suing Apple, arguing the tech giant’s mobile wallet technology infringes on its intellectual property.
  • A former employee of a company Fintiv acquired alleged Apple used confidential information to create its mobile wallet.
  • Apple has repeatedly tried, unsuccessfully, to move the case to a court in Northern California, where Apple is based. 

A small Texas-based tech company filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple that has picked up steam, potentially threatening to disrupt Apple’s mobile wallet business.

Fintiv, an Austin financial technology firm, obtained a patent for secure mobile wallet technology from CorFire, a subsidiary of a South Korean company called SK C&C, after it acquired CorFire in December 2014, according to court filings. In December 2018, Fintiv, which had recently changed its name from Mozido following allegations that its founder engaged in fraud, sued Apple, claiming the tech giant’s mobile wallet and payment services infringed upon the CorFire patent for card storage on a mobile device.

The case has remained in litigation ever since, with Apple unsuccessfully attempting to change the lawsuit’s venue from Texas’ Western District Court, under Judge Alan Albright, to its home district in northern California. However, a sworn declaration from a former SK employee in June 2022 prompted Fintiv to petition Albright to reopen discovery after the employee alleged Apple had used confidential CorFire technology for its products. (RELATED: Dem Megadonor Under Federal Investigation Bankrolled Lawmakers Overseeing The Agency He Was Lobbying)

“It is apparent that Apple has used and incorporated CorFire’s confidential and proprietary information into Apple Pay and Apple devices, including CorFire’s teachings regarding secure element and widget technology,” George Eubank, a former SK vice president, said in the court filing.

The court held a discovery hearing in the case Tuesday following Eubank’s allegations.

Though it’s unknown how much compensation Fintiv would be awarded were its suit to succeed, the company seeks to “recover damages for all past and future infringement thereof,” potentially a substantial portion of Apple’s mobile payments business, which includes Apple Pay and Apple Mobile Wallet.

Fintiv is not without its share of controversies; the company was previously known as Mozido, but changed its name days after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil suit against its founder Michael Liberty alleging he defrauded investors in 2018, Forbes reported. Liberty was indicted in February 2019, and later pardoned by former President Donald Trump; Fintiv had sued Apple in December 2018, two months before the indictment.

Liberty claimed he used much of the money raised from investors to acquire an “extensive portfolio” of patents, including the patent for the mobile wallet, Forbes reported, while 9to5Mac and The Mac Observer, Apple insider publications, referred to Fintiv as a “patent troll.”

Additionally, the company’s online presence is sparse, with its Crunchbase profile reporting that the company has between 11-50 employees, though it appears less than five are on LinkedIn. Fintiv declined to comment on the case.

The Apple store employee helps customers during Black Friday at International Plaza on November 26, 2021 in Tampa, United States. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

The Apple store employee helps customers during Black Friday at International Plaza on November 26, 2021 in Tampa, United States. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

However, Apple has attempted to reach a settlement with Fintiv multiple times, according to multiple sources familiar with the litigation not authorized to speak publicly.

Moreover, Eubank stated that he had pitched Apple on the mobile wallet technology in a bid to secure partners for CorFire’s mobile payment and financial technologies.

“During this January 2012 meeting, we shared CorFire’s confidential and proprietary information related to the design and processes of CorFire’s mobile wallet technology,” Eubank stated.

The tech giant also allegedly hired a former SK business development manager after the meeting was held. The manager later, as of June 2022, worked at Apple as an “Apple Pay and Wallet Product employee,” according to court documents.

Apple has repeatedly tried to move the case to courts in Northern California, where Apple is based, and away from Judge Alan Albright. The Waco judge has been characterized by intellectual property lawyers as an opponent of Big Tech, while others have considered him a friend of “patent trolls,” Business Insider reported.

Apple did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Ailan Evans

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