Some rideshare riders could desire Lyft because of the friendlier company picture the corporate has rigorously cultivated.

However that picture is perhaps in jeopardy resulting from a lately filed patent infringement lawsuit claiming the company stole a university professor’s patent to build their platform’s core. The pink mustache can solely carry the corporate up to now, and if this go well with is profitable, it may spell catastrophe for the rideshare large, or only a massive ding within the pocketbook.

Patent Troll, or Visionary?

Whereas the preliminary response most individuals could have is that this professor is a few type of patent troll, this is able to appear to be his first trolling (a fast Google search did not flip up some other lawsuits). The Lyft lawsuit explains that he secured a patent for what is basically the core performance of Lyft’s providers, and different rideshare providers, however that the patent was owned by the college he labored for till he retired and re-secured his personal patent.

In 1999, earlier than smartphones had been actually a factor, and earlier than there was an app market, or “the sharing financial system,” or perhaps a mass marketplace for vitality drinks, Professor Stephen Dickerson thought up a system to make use of handheld gadgets, GPS, and an automatic billing system, to attach riders with drivers. He filed for a patent in 2001, bought it 2004, transferred it to his college, after which in 2012, Lyft began.

Fortunately for Lyft, the college by no means pursued authorized motion. Nonetheless, since patent infringement claims do not actually include a traditional statute of limitations like different claims, when Dickerson was capable of reacquire his patent upon retirement, he additionally acquired the correct to sue Lyft, and sure different rideshare firms, for infringing upon his visionary patent.

His lawsuit seeks unpaid royalties and compensation, and likewise seeks an injunction (although that will probably be moot if the corporate agrees to pay royalties, or licensing charges, shifting ahead). There isn’t any phrase on whether or not different rideshare firms might be in Dickerson’s crosshairs, however given the wording of the patent, and the claim, it appears inevitable.

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