Sweden 30 Aug 2017
Prosecutors in Sweden have begun a preliminary investigation into possible patent infringement of the popular mobile application “Mobilt BankID”. A privately-owned company has submitted a police report on “intentional patent infringement” against the bank-owned company Finansiell ID-teknik (BID). The online newspaper RealTid has now reported that a preliminary investigation has begun. The penalty may be fines or imprisonment of up to two years for persons within the management of BID.
The Swedish company Accumulate has been in dispute with the company Finansiell ID-teknik (BID), owned by seven Swedish banks, since 2010. Accumulate has developed patented technology for mobile security solutions which, they claim, have been used by Finansiell ID-teknik in its popular mobile application Mobilt BankID. Accumulate believes that BID saw Accumulate’s technology around 2010 after which they took it and applied it to their own development work. In 2016, Accumulate submitted a police report regarding patent infringement against BID. RealTid reports that a preliminary investigation was initiated in November 2016 and that BID’s CEO and board members risk imprisonment in the case of a conviction.
If the preliminary inquiry leads to a public prosecution it will be the first time that the criminal section of the Swedish patent law is applied and that a criminal trial is initiated. The fact that the prosecutor has begun a preliminary investigation is, in itself, unique. Normally, a patent infringement in Sweden is settled as a dispute based on a civil law summons application. No public prosecution has been raised in patent cases since the patent law came into force in 1967.
BID claims that Mobilt BankID has been developed with its own technology and that there has been no patent infringement. According to Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, they repudiate the ongoing preliminary investigation, and a representative has stated that “Johan Eriksson, CEO at Finansiell ID-teknik, is not suspected of any crime nor has he been called for interrogation.”
Mobilt BankID has been used by over 7 million Swedes.