José Montet, a computer scientist of 48 years, assures, patents in support, to be the inventor of the secure payment system on internet used since by the two multinationals. He assigns them today to the tribunal de grande instance of Paris.
José Montet, Martinican computer scientist
He attacks two behemoths. José Montet claims no less than 960 million euros to two multinationals: eBay (an online auction site) and Paypal (an online payment site). This Thursday, the Martiniquais and his lawyer assign the two multinationals before the tribunal de grande instance of Paris. Indeed, with his lawyer, the computer scientist decided to move up a gear. "We exchanged mail for almost two years but they make me run in circles. Until today, they are unable to prove to me that they were there before me.
At the heart of the dispute, secure online payment software. At the end of the 1990 years, at a time when internet commerce is booming and where, at the same time, the credit card fraud is in full swing, José Montet reflects, in his corner, a "simple and effective system" for prevent fraud. "There were some security procedures but they were either very expensive for their implementation or cumbersome like the Merka box with which the user had to always move."
The computer scientist would have had a simple idea, "but still had to think about it," he says. To secure payments on the internet, he thinks of associating the credit card number with an e-mail to identify each buyer. "At the beginning, the customer enters his bank details and he is asked for his e-mail. For all these subsequent purchases, he no longer needs to enter his card codes. As soon as it is used, an email warns him "
WHO IS THE OLDEST?
"Secret e-mail" (The secret lies in the e-mail) was born. José Montet filed a first patent in France at the Program Protection Agency (APP) 31 August 2000 and a second patent in the United States, from United States Copyright Office, 20 September 2000. At the same time, the inventor widely discloses his invention. He contacts many companies through various means (fax, telephone, email, letters) and even participates in a program on LCI that talked about credit card fraud.
"This is where I met the president of the group of bank cards (GIE). On two occasions, I demonstrated my project on its premises, in the presence of my lawyer. And then, nothing ... until 2007. By visiting Paypal's website for a purchase, José Montet discovers that the company based in Luxembourg uses the same process as him.
Began long negotiations with Paypal and eBay who bought the process in 2002. Its interlocutors ensure that the system used is prior to the "Secret e-mail" designed by Martinique. "I do not say the opposite but, in this case, let me prove it! So far, the oldest document they have been able to give us dates from 2001, namely a license granted by the State of Oregon 27 April 2001 ". Eight months after his own patent.
Paypal resold "his" system to eBay for 1,5 billion dollars ago 10 years ago. "The 960 millions of euros that I claim are nothing compared to the gains and profits that these companies are generated." The file is now in the hands of the 3ème chambre, 2ème section of the tribunal de grande instance of Paris. In 2002, Paypal has sold its online payment system (the one claimed) to eBay for 1,5 billion.
Two giants of the web
Paypal, a subsidiary of the eBay group is a leading online payment company globally, with 98 millions of accounts active in 190 markets for 4,4 billion turnover. eBay, an American online brokerage firm, known through its auction website, has annual sales close to 11,6 billion.
What the two companies are saying
Assigned to court, eBay and Paypal use different defense arguments. Without questioning the similarity of the two systems for securing online payment, Paypal claims to have started using it from 1998, that is to say, two years before the patent application of José Montet. But, according to the Martinique, the documents provided so far by them, would not have allowed to go back before 2001.
Both companies also argue that the motion is unfounded because it is a mere idea. And, according to them, French law and "American copyright" only protect works and the expression of ideas, not ideas as such. Counsel for the applicant asserts, on the contrary, that it is not a mere idea since it was expressed in software. Both companies are also surprised that the lawsuit was conducted 10 years later. Finally, they believe that José Montet does not provide evidence that Paypal infringes his rights.
"Secret e-mail": a simple and effective invention
In August and September 2000, José filed two patents, one in France and one in the United States for his invention. "Secret email" (the secret lies in the e-mail) was intended to fight against the fraudulent purchases on the bank card which were raging on the internet since the end of the 90 years. The computer scientist had a simple idea: secure online payments by associating an email address with each credit card number to identify the buyer. This allows you to automatically send an e-mail message to each purchase made. Without a secure system, anyone with a card number stolen from their owner, a credit card ticket, can indeed fraudulently appropriate products on the Internet.
According to a report drawn up in Paris 28 January 2011 by a sworn agent of the Agency for the Protection of Programs (APP), the program currently used by Paypal for online payments is "identical in all respects" to the one designed by José Montet. In their defenses, the companies eBay and Paypal do not dispute this point.