Cleveland Bus System Joins Over 100 Others In Being Sued For Patent Infringement For Notifying People If A Bus Is Running Late
from the patent-trolling dept
Roman points us to the interesting news that the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has been sued for patent infringement for this daring and shocking bit of piracy: notifying riders that a bus may be late and when it’s likely to arrive. You see most normal people would think that this is an obvious idea to those skilled in the art. The reason it wasn’t done in the past wasn’t because the idea was so difficult to contemplate, or that it was a huge technological challenge, it was merely a limitation of the other technology that makes this possible. Once GPS technology got cheaper, wireless data transmission became more widespread and cheaper and (finally) more people started carrying smartphones (or even SMS-capable phones) this kind of feature sprung up all over the place. It wasn’t because some random dude patented the idea, but because it’s obvious once all the other key pieces are in place, and it’s relatively easy to implement.
But don’t tell that to Martin Jones, who holds a bunch of these patents. The “Clevescene” story above does not identify the patents or link to the actual legal filing (why don’t news sites do that?!?), but after looking around, it’s easy to find that Jones and the company he represents have filed over a hundred lawsuits like this recently over a variety of patents. I’m not sure exactly which patents he’s claiming in this particular case, but here’s Patent # 5,400,020 for a school bus notification system and Patent # 5,623,260 for a notification system for “impending arrival of a transportation vehicle.” There are a lot more similar patents that all seem to be slight variations on the same thing. It seems he had this idea and has tried to lock it up and demand payment from tons and tons of companies — with many agreeing to pay up.