The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to reexamine a patent granted to InComm Inc. that is at the heart of a patent-infringement lawsuit, prepaid card provider Blackhawk Network announced Sept. 7.

In October, InComm accused Blackhawk of infringing on InComm’s 439 patent, which covers a computer-implemented method for processing stored-value card transaction requests, according to the lawsuit InComm filed in U.S. District Court in Madison, Wis.

The patent office issued the patent on Aug. 25 to e2Interactive Inc., InComm’s Atlanta-based parent, according to the complaint. In the lawsuit, which includes pages of detailed exhibits, InComm accuses Blackhawk of infringing on its patent through the operation of the Gift Card Mall.

Blackhawk in court documents has since denied the allegations and has filed a counterclaim to the 439 patent, contending it is invalid and unenforceable.

In June, Blackhawk asked the patent office to reexamine the patent, saying the agency should not have issued it because there are questions regarding “the patentability of those claims” in the patents. In August, the patent office said it would reexamine the patent based on Blackhawk’s claims.

InComm said in a statement "the submission of a request for patent reexamination to the USPTO is a procedural tool commonly used by defendants in patent litigation."

InComm went on to say that "current statistics show that the USPTO grants at least 95% of similar reexamination requests, yet only a minimal percentage of such requests result in patent invalidation."

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