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| 1 minute read

A Cautionary Tale When Drafting Jury Verdict Forms

In the past several years, United Services Automobile Association ("USAA") has asserted a number of patent lawsuits related to mobile check deposit, a feature that allows customers to deposit checks into their bank account using their smartphones. These USAA patents generally cover technology related to the process of capturing an image of a check, transmitting the image to a bank for processing, and crediting the funds to the customer's account. 

In May 2022, a jury in Marshall, Texas, found that PNC infringed USAA's patents resulting in $218 million in damages. However, on January 19, 2023, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) issued its final written decision holding unpatentable claims 1-6, 9, 10, 12, and 13 of U.S. Patent No. 8,977,571 (“the ’571 patent”)—including all claims of the ’571 patent that USAA asserted at trial against PNC. Because of the broad language in the jury form--- "Did USAA prove by a preponderance of the evidence that PNC infringed any of the asserted claims"---PNC argues that a new trial is warranted because it's unclear whether the jury's infringement verdict or damages award rested in part or in whole on the unpatentable patent claims. 

The language of the verdict that the jury signed off on last year reads: "Did USAA prove by a preponderance of the evidence that PNC infringed any of the asserted claims" in the four patents that made it to trial. PNC has zeroed in on the word "any," which it says prevents the verdict from holding up. It wants Judge Gilstrap to now hold an entirely new trial.