In a legal action that could have wide-ranging ramifications for credit unions, banks and retailers, a local firm on Friday filed suit in federal court in Texas claiming America First CU, Wescom CU, Zions Bank, Capital One and major retailers are infringing on its patent for creating online customized branded merchandise.

The plaintiff, Quark Images LLC of Longview, Texas, claims the defendants are infringing on its eight-year-old U.S. patent for creating and ordering customized branded merchandise over a computer network, including credit unions’ growing use of customized credit and debit cards.

Also named as a defendant was Serverside Group Ltd., which provided the card customization technology allowing America First, Wescom, Zions Bank and Capital One to offer customized cards over the web.

America First used Serverside technology to become the first card issuer to offer personalized Visa gift cards at its website in 2007. Wescom began offering customized credit cards through Serverside at its website in 2008.

Also named as defendants are PAYjr, a provider of customized stored value cards, and Shoreline Business Solutions, a Serverside partner which shared its customizable art technology with dozens of credit unions through TNB Card Services.

Several major retailers are cited in the suit, including Adidas, Nike, Hallmark Cards, Reebok, Mars candy, Oakley, Ralph Lauren, Topps baseball cards and BMW autos.

The company is seeking a jury trial and damages from each of the entities. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the Marshall Division.

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