Traffic Technology Today.com
Subscribe to Traffic Technology
Subscribe to Traffic Technology
   Sort by: relevance most recent
  

NEWS >>

USA patent case ruling has implications for electronic toll roads

A Federal Appeals Court has affirmed the dismissal of a patent-infringement case that could have cost Electronic Transaction Consultants Corporation (ETC) more than US$60 million and jeopardized the vehicle identification system used to electronically collect a significant portion of tolls in the USA. The court dismissed a patent-infringement lawsuit brought against ETC by TransCore, which had alleged that ETC infringed four different patents that relate to the automatic electronic collection of tolls.

The dispute arose from a request for bids to upgrade the toll-collection facilities for a major toll authority. Part of the project included providing the toll authority with open-road tolling capability using automatic vehicle identification (AVI) equipment manufactured by Mark IV Industries, which was sold to the toll authority. Both TransCore and ETC tendered bids on the project. After ETC won, TransCore sued ETC for patent infringement. TransCore claimed that the Mark IV equipment infringed its patents, and thus that ETC’s “use” of the Mark IV equipment – by installing and testing it during the project – also infringed its patents.

At the heart of the decision is the legal concept of patent exhaustion which, in this case, stems from an earlier lawsuit, in which TransCore sued Mark IV for infringing three of the four patents at issue in the ETC case. As a part of the settlement of that case, TransCore granted Mark IV a covenant not to sue the company for infringing the three patents. The Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court’s holding that this covenant not to sue was effectively a license under the patents. Thus, when Mark IV then sold the allegedly infringing equipment to the toll authority, it did so with its authority under the three patents, exhausting TransCore's rights in the equipment.

A TransCore victory could have directly affected the electronic toll-collection systems used by the E-ZPass Interagency Group (IAG), which collects approximately 80% of all tolls in the USA, and Mark IV, which supplies IAG-member toll authorities with equipment. Any toll authority or equipment installer using the Mark IV equipment could have faced legal action by TransCore.
 

May 7, 2009

Email


RECEIVE THE
LATEST NEWS


Your email address:



Monthly Poll >>

When was the first ALPR device invented? 

MAGAZINE >>

Read latest issueNEW DIGITAL EDITION:

The October/November 2018 issue of Traffic Technology International is now online.

Click here to read digital version
Click here to subscribe

Read now >>

INTERTRAFFIC WORLD >>

Read latest issueNEW DIGITAL EDITION:

Intertraffic World 2019 showcase is now online.


Click here to read digital version
Click here to subscribe

Read now >>

TOLLTRANS >>

Read latest issueNEW DIGITAL EDITION:

Tolltrans 2018 is now online.



Click here to read digital version
Click here to subscribe

Read now >>