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US transport organisation files lawsuit against “frivolous” patent claims

The American Public Transport Agency has filed a lawsuit in an effort to halt “frivolous” patent infringement claims against its members by companies based in Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands.

The complaint, filed last week, seeks to halt “frivolous” claims against public transportation agencies by ArrivalStar and Melvino Technologies for providing transit information to customers.

According to the complaint, every case that ArrivalStar has filed against public transport agencies has been settled within months of filing, “because ArrivalStar’s intent is merely to extract a harassment payment” from agencies that will be “disproportionately burdened” by litigation.

APTA is requesting a jury trial and is asking the court to invalidate the patents. The case is American Public Transport Agency v ArrivalStar and Melvino Technologies.

“Public transportation plays a critical function in American society,” said APTA in its complaint. “In the midst of a struggling economy for governments and citizens alike, where budgets are tight for everyone, the last thing public transportation agencies should be forced to do is pay unjustified license fees to patent holders making frivolous infringement claims.”

The suit follows several recent steps by the Obama administration and government agencies to curb the activities of patent trolls. Last month, the White House announced a series of legislative priorities and executive actions, the FTC said it would be investigating potentially anti-competitive practices of trolls and the ITC launched a pilot programme aimed at preventing trolls from gaining import bans based on frivolous claims.

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