A company called “Hailo Technologies, LLC”, has sued both Uber and Lyft over alleged infringement of U.S. patent 5,973,619, which describes an “automated vehicle dispatch and payment honoring system.” The patent, filed by Alexis Paredes in 1997 and granted in 1999, describes a software system that allows a user to pick a means of transportation from a menu, enter in a destination along with the number of passengers, shows you the estimated cost of the ride and then accepts payment via scanned cards.
It might sound, as VentureBeat initially reported, like cab hailing company Hailo is behind the suit, but that’s not the case – Hailo Technologies, LLC is a completely separate entity that has absolutely no relation to the Hailo that built a ride-hailing business spanning multiple European locations, as well as North American market for a time, before being acquired by Daimler and merged with myTaxi last year, Daimler tells TechCrunch. Hailo Technologies, LLC was incorporated this year in California, and also operates under the trade name “Bring,” though we could find no evidence of it having released any products currently available.
We’ve reached out to the original patent holder, and to the firm representing Hailo Technologies, Cotman IP Group, to find our more about Hailo Technologies, LLC and Bring, but have not yet received any response. We’ll update here if we do. The company lists itself as a “Holding company” on its California business registration, and Cotman previously made headlines representing TZU in a lawsuit against Kickstarter and others over remotely controlled sex toys.
Uber recently launched its own patent purchase program, called UP3, which is part of an overall strategy to increase its IP holdings through acquisition and its own engineering efforts, in order to protect the company from legal action – including cases like this – in the future.
Additional reporting by Megan Rose Dickey and Kate Conger