Patents to celebrate the day:
On September 14, 2021, U.S. Patent No. D930702, on a Display Screen Portion with Animated Graphical User Interface, issued to Wepay Global Payments LLC. The design patent covers two embodiments: The first embodiment consists of Figs. 1 and 2:
The second embodiment consists of Figs. 3 – 5:
Within weeks of the patent issuance Wepay sued PNC Bank NA. A month later Wepay sued PayPal Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Last month Wepay sued JPMorgan Chase Bank NA and Bank of America NA. Then last week, Wepay sued Apple (6:22-cv-00223 in W.D.Texas), Amazon (1:22-cv-01061 in N.D. Ill), Tesla (W.D. Texas), Walmart Stores Inc (1:22-cv-01062 in N.D. Ill.))., and McDonald’s Corp. (1:22-cv-01064 in N.D. Ill.)
With the patent’s liberal use of dashed lines, it appears that Figs. 1 and 3 cover any screen with the a QR code finder pattern – the three black squares in three corners of the QR code. Figs. 2 and 5 cover any screen with the figure “$0.00.” Fig. 4, oddly enough, covers any screen, with or without content.. Since QR codes have been around since 1994, and dollar signs even longer — since the late 18th century, it seems unlikely that this pattern did not appear on an apps display before the September 3, 2020, filing date of the ‘702 patent.
Wepay is asserting the ‘702 to its broadest extent. Looking, for example at the complaint against Apple,
It is hard to fathom what is ornamental about the three squares of a QR code, or the dollar sign or zeros. It is also hard to imagine that if the defendants are infringing now, that they were not infringing before the patent was filed, thus invalidating the patent.
Give the tremendous resources of the defendants, it is difficult to imagine that this patent will be found valid and infringe, we can only hope they don’t destroy the design patent system in the process.