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Dismissal of Complaint Against MasterCard Affirmed on Appeal

MasterCard International Inc. successfully defended charges of patent and copyright infringement brought in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas related to certain pre-paid cash card systems.

Plaintiffs sued MasterCard and numerous other defendants, including ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, IBM and AT&T. After several of the other defendants answered the complaint, but before discovery commenced, the district court granted MasterCard’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims in a three sentence order that read, in part, “For the reasons set forth in [MasterCard’s] motion, plaintiffs’ complaint is dismissed with prejudice as to all defendants.” Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal of their copyright claims to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed the dismissal.

The Fifth Circuit accepted in full the arguments set forth in appellees’ brief, dismissing the appeal, in part, on the grounds that plaintiffs’ purported copyright was directed to an idea and not to copyrightable expression.

Team: Robert C. Scheinfeld and Eliot D. Williams, both of New York, represented MasterCard.


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