On Track Innovations Ltd, an Israel-based provider of ID and payment technology, today announced it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against wireless carrier T-Mobile USA. OTI alleges T-Mobile is selling NFC-enabled phones that infringe on a U.S. patent held by OTI. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

According to OTI's announcement, the company's patent no. 6,045,043. "enables contactless payments with mobile phones, loyalty programs, data mining, and other applications." The company does not say why it has filed suit against T-Mobile, a company that simply resells handsets and doesn't actually manufacture mobile devices. (Mobile Payments Today has reached out to both OTI and T-Mobile for comment and will provide additional information as it comes in.)

"We believe in the strength and value of our intellectual property and have the resources to protect it," said Oded Bashan, OTI chairman and CEO, said in the announcement. "We are also happy to provide innovative technology and partner with others in the industry to facilitate the growing future of contactless payments, data capture, loyalty programs, and more."

OTI said the patent in question is a part of its IP portfolio that includes more than 100 issued patents and pending patent applications covering "product applications, software platforms, system and product architecture, product concepts and more in the fields of Near Field Communications (NFC), contactless payments, secure ID, petroleum and parking solutions."

"This lawsuit is another step in OTI’s ongoing strategy to leverage its IP assets," Bashan said in the statement.

(IP issues are becoming a bigger issue as the mobile payment market develops. See our story from last month regarding an ongoing patent fight over mobile banking solutions.)

For more stories like this, visit the Regulatory Issues research center.

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