Lyft Sued For Infringing Vehicle Identification Patents

On Monday in the District of Delaware, plaintiff RideShare Displays, Inc. (RSDI) filed a complaint for patent infringement against Lyft, Inc. alleging that defendant Lyft infringed the patents-in-suit by utilizing its color matching and identification system for riders to match and identify their requested respective drivers and vehicles.

The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 9,892,637 (the ‘637 patent); 10,169,987 (the ‘987 patent); 10,395,525 (the ‘525 patent); U.S. Patent No. 10,559,199 (the ‘199 patent); and 10,748,417 (the ‘417 patent). All of the patents-in-suit are entitled, “Vehicle Identification System” and describe a system and method for riders to identify their requested driver and vehicle.

RSDI claimed that it has not licensed the patents-in-suit or its other patents to Lyft, nor has the plaintiff authorized Lyft to utilize any of the patented claims. Specifically, RSDI’s active display technology, LOCUS, “provides passengers with the ability to immediately locate and securely identify the correct rideshare vehicle and driver,” according to the complaint. The plaintiff added that LOCUS “displays a single-use identifier (e.g. a particular text string or color) that is sent simultaneously to both the driver’s and passenger’s cell phones/mobile device for each trip” and it “provides a universal delivery system for messages, logos, advertisements, driver or passenger emergency and medical alerts.”

According to the plaintiff, Lyft’s ridesharing app allegedly infringes the patents-in-suit. RSDI asserted that Lyft provides various technology for riders to identify their assigned driver and vehicle, such as the Amp, which is placed on the vehicle’s windshield. The plaintiff averred that on the Lyft app, “passengers are alerted via their cell phone/mobile device of the unique color identifier (green, orange, yellow, white, purple, and grey) which is also displayed on the Amp device of their Lyft driver…By matching the color displayed on the Amp with the color sent to their cell phone/mobile device, riders can easily, safely, and securely identify the correct vehicle before entering.” As a result, the plaintiff averred that Lyft has utilized its patented color matching and identification patent for riders to match to their requested vehicles and drivers.

RSDI contended that Lyft was aware of its technology since at least March 2017 and purportedly knew of at least one of the patents-in-suit since at least March 2018. Moreover, RSDI claimed that in 2019 Lyft contacted RSDI to discuss its technology, however, the plaintiff noted that during the teleconference call “Lyft’s representatives stated that the beaconing function of the RSDI technology was already in the Lyft Amp.” Shortly after, the Lyft representative ended the call. After communication with other Lyft representatives, RSDI was informed that Lyft was not interested in its patent portfolio. Lyft purportedly filed for its own patent for a similar beaconing technology.

Lyft is accused of directly, indirectly, and contributorily infringing the patents-in-suit, in addition to inducing infringement of the patents-in-suit. The plaintiff has sought declaratory judgment, for the defendant to be estopped from challenging patent validity, an award for damages, an award for ongoing royalties or alternatively to permanently enjoin the defendant from further infringement, an award for costs and fees, and other relief. RSDI is represented by Seitz, Van Ogtrop & Green, P.A. and Wiggin and Dana LLP.