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america invents act, IP, Patent

Inventor / Patent Owner Claudio Ballard Speaks Out Against Patent Reform

Ballard is the inventor behind a series of patents claiming a process believed to be essential to electronic check processing and storage used by the banking industry on a daily basis.  In Ballard’s own words:

In 1994, I invented a system that enabled check image exchanges to save banks money and make banking more convenient for consumers. I built a prototype, formed a company (now called Data Treasury), applied for patents in 1997 and 1998, and then raised money from investors to help build my company. I offered to license my technology to several big banks around the turn of the century, only to see them steal my intellectual property and build their own check imaging systems using my invention.

A few years ago, an entirely transparent attempt by Alabama’s Jeff Sessions to curry favor with the banking industry would have specifically exempted banks from civil liability over patents related to check imaging technology.  Failing in that attempt, the banking lobby re-grouped earlier this year to push through a new second-look process that would apply only to patents “utilized in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service.”  In Ballard’s words:

But the big bankers and their high-priced lobbyists didn’t give up. Indeed, last month, the House Judiciary Committee at the request of the Financial Services Roundtable included in their so-called patent reform bill some obscure language that to the naked eye means nothing. But to me it could mean the end of my business and a devastating loss to all my stockholders.

Ballard (rightly) takes an exception to being called a patent “troll”, responding with this:

I am an inventor who has his own patents, built a company around them, and has weathered years of attacks from the big banks.

I am not a lawyer. I am an inventor.

Ballard calls upon the Tea Party to recognize this patent reform effort as merely another favor being thrown to the banking industry:

If we are to continue to thrive as a nation, we need to protect the small guys against big government and against big corporations that want to squash competition. The Tea Party rose up because of the bank bailout in 2008. It should rise up against this bank bailout in 2011.

Read more: The Tea Party should stop this bank bailout


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