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Jury Upholds Lincoln Patent

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An insurer has won a legal battle in connection with efforts to protect rights to a computerized method for administering a class of variable annuity features.

A jury at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa has returned a verdict in favor of Lincoln National Life Insurance Company in a patent infringement lawsuit.

Lincoln National, Fort Wayne, Ind., a unit of Lincoln National Corp., Radnor, Pa., brought the suit in 2006 against three units of AEGON N.V., The Hague, Netherlands: Transamerica Life Insurance Company, Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Company, and Western Reserve Life Assurance Company of Ohio.

The patent at the heart of the case is U.S. Patent 7,089,201, “Method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits.”

The patent, sometimes called the “201 Patent,” covers a method for administering VA products that combine guaranteed minimum payment features with systematic withdrawal programs.

The patent also covers data-processing methods used to administer variable annuities in the payout phase and withdrawals from mutual funds, particularly systematic withdrawals from funds.

Lincoln uses the patented method to administer annuities such as the i4LIFE Advantage annuity.

The Iowa jury found the patent valid, said infringement started Aug. 8, 2006, and set the royalty for infringement at $13.1 million, according to court records.

“We are disappointed in the verdict because we believe that our computer system does not infringe and that the concepts expressed in the patent were known in the industry prior to the patent filing date,” AEGON representatives say in a statement. “At this time, we are evaluating our options as to the next steps.”

Additional information about the verdict is available here.


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