Patent troll vexes municipal transit agencies

by Walter Olson on May 9, 2012

Greater Greater Washington covers a story we linked a while back:

Jones doesn’t actually develop or sell any technology relating to real-time vehicle tracking, but that hasn’t stopped him (and his two offshore firms, ArrivalStar and Melvino Technologies) from punishing anyone who does. To date, he’s filed more than 100 lawsuits against anyone who uses such technology—everyone from Ford to Abercrombie & Fitch to American Airlines to FedEx. He’s now one of the top 25 filers of patent infringement suits, according to PriorSmart.com.

Prominent among ArrivalStar’s recent targets have been municipal transit agencies, at least ten of whom it has sued, with another eight getting demand letters. Several have settled, including the New York City, Boston, Chicago and Maryland authorities; critics say the settlements are typically for less than the cost of defending the suits and are accompanied by nondisclosure clauses in which the transit operators agree not to talk about their experience.

{ 2 comments }

1 Hugo S. Cunningham 05.09.12 at 12:06 pm

A Congressional committee should subpoena the tems of these confidential agreements. It should be possible to assemble a bipartisan coalition against defrauding the taxpayers, even if broader patent reform is still out of reach.

2 J.T. Wenting 05.10.12 at 7:33 am

“. It should be possible to assemble a bipartisan coalition against defrauding the taxpayers”

that’d mean forming a coalition against themselves. All politicians do is defraud taxpayers…

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