(Reuters) – A retired Georgia Institute of Expertise engineering professor described as a “pioneer” in creating the thought of trip sharing sued Lyft Inc, claiming it infringed his patent for expertise underlying the core of its enterprise mannequin.
FILE PHOTO: An illuminated signal seems in a Lyft ride-hailing automobile in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 21, 2017. Image taken September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photograph
In response to a grievance filed on Monday night, Lyft has did not pay Stephen Dickerson for utilizing his system integrating cellphones, international positioning system (GPS) expertise and automatic billing, regardless of incomes as a lot as $1 billion of annual income.
“The core of its enterprise mannequin is the transportation system of Prof. Dickerson’s invention; with out that system, Lyft actually can’t function,” the grievance stated.
By means of his firm RideApp Inc, Dickerson is searching for affordable royalties and an injunction towards San Francisco-based Lyft, which is privately held.
Based in 2012, Lyft was valued final month at $15.1 billion after finishing a $600 million financing spherical.
Its community contains greater than 600 areas, based on its web site.
A Lyft spokeswoman declined to touch upon Tuesday.
The grievance known as Dickerson a “pioneer in creating the novel concept” of trip sharing by conceiving his system in 1999, earlier than cellphones from main producers integrated GPS expertise and allowed for widespread automated billing.
Dickerson stated he reacquired the patent this yr, 17 years after assigning his rights to Georgia Tech, which had made no effort through the years to cease infringements.
Jeffrey Toney, a associate at Kasowitz Benson Torres representing Dickerson, stated his consumer thought Lyft may be infringing the patent when he started efforts to reclaim it.
“His imaginative and prescient is to combine all types of subscription transportation right into a single cellphone software, so you may get the place you’re getting in essentially the most environment friendly approach,” Toney instructed Reuters by phone. “That’s what’s motivating him.”
Toney declined to say whether or not different corporations may be focused, however stated Dickerson “plans to implement his rights and totally develop his invention.”
The lawsuit was filed in federal courtroom in Manhattan.
The case is RideApp Inc v Lyft Inc, U.S. District Court docket, Southern District of New York, No. 18-06625.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; modifying by Jonathan Oatis and Dan Grebler