Samsung Galaxy Smartphones Targeted in Infringement Case Over Secure Device Authentication Patents

On Friday, April 6th, Texas-based patent owner PACid Technologies filed a complaint alleging patent infringement committed by South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung (KRX:005930). The case, filed in the Eastern District of Texas, focuses on authentication protocols utilized by Samsung devices which allegedly infringe upon a pair of patents owned by PACid.

The two patents-in-suit asserted by PACid are:

  • U.S. Patent No. 9577993, titled System and Method for Authenticating Users. Issued to PACid last February, it covers a method for authenticating a user involving an application that generates a secret stored at the computing device and retrievable when a unique user input is applied to the computing device; receiving a first communication including an identifier associated with a secret from a remote computer-based station; prompting a user for input via the computing device’s user interface in response to receiving the communication and transmitting a second communication encoded using the secret once the unique user input is verified.
  • U.S. Patent No. 9876771, same title as the ‘993 patent. It claims a similar method of authenticating a user with the use of a security application which prompts the user to input a unique verifier.

PACid’s complaint notes that Samsung mobile devices, including its smartphone products, are deployed with hardware and software compliant with the authentication protocol adopted by the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance. These devices allegedly employ the FIDO Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) which provides passwordless authentication for device users. FIDO UAF authentication methods employ the use of biometric scanners, such as fingerprint scanners, for device authentication or payment verification. “Users of Samsung’s Galaxy S5, for example, benefited and benefit from secure and seamless online, mobile and in-store transactions as a consequence of Samsung’s implementation of FIDO,” PACid’s complaint reads.

Along with Samsung’s Galaxy S5 smartphone, PACid’s complaint also notes that similar technical features resulting from Samsung’s implementation of FIDO are evident in the company’s Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S7, S7 Edge, S8 and S8 Edge products. PACid specifically notes the Samsung Pass identity management application implemented in products since at least the Galaxy S7 which encrypts a user’s biometric template, including fingerprint or face scans, with the use of the Samsung Knox mobile security application.

PACid’s suit includes counts for infringement of either patent asserted in the case as well as one count for willful infringement. PACid alleges that Samsung had knowledge of the ‘993 patent as a result of the South Korean tech giant’s prosecution of one of its own patent applications. Samsung’s knowledge of the ‘993 patent goes back to at least January 2017 when PACid alleges that Samsung was provided direct notice of the ‘993 patent. Because of this allegedly willful infringement, PACid is seeking enhanced damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284.


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