Postmates Sued For Patent Infringement Over Location Matching App

Quartz Auto Technologies LLC filed a complaint against Postmates Inc. for patent infringement alleging that Postmates infringed the patents-in-suit through its location information and matching system on its app.

The patents-in-suit are United States Patent Nos. 6,446,004 (the ’004 patent*), entitled System and Method for Implementing Proximity or Location Driven Activities”; 7,370,085 (the ’085 patent), entitled “Method, System, and Program for Providing User Location Information with a  Personal Information Management Program”; and 7,958,215  (the ’215 patent), entitled System Management Using Real Time Collaboration.”

According to the complaint, “(t)he ’004 Patent discloses and claims a system and associated method for implementing a proximity driven activity.” The claims in the patent describe a system determining the location of a mobile device and whether that device is close to a destination location, matching the device to the location.

In particular, Postmates allegedly uses the aforementioned method and system for “implementing a proximity driven activity by “arranging and scheduling on-demand delivery services.” Specifically, the plaintiff averred that Postmates’s Fleet app “specifies an activity to be executed at an indeterminate destination location.” This activity, the complaint says, is set to be done at a specific location, namely, at the specified merchant’s location where the driver will pick up the delivery. Additionally, the plaintiff noted that “(t)he destination location is indeterminate to the driver since the driver does not know the location of the merchant s/he will be paired with when specifying the activity.”

Quartz claimed that Postmates’ platform and correlating algorithms match drivers with delivery requests and coordinate the transportation of items. As a result, the plaintiff stated that “the algorithms use, and the servers thus necessarily store, executable software code that correspond(s ) to the activity of fulfilling delivery requests,” as described in the patent. Moreover, the Fleet app “periodically determines a current location of a mobile computing device of the driver,” thus it collects location and motion or orientation information from a driver’s mobile device.

According to Quartz, Postmates determines if the destination location, is “within a predefined proximity range from the current location of a driver’s mobile computing device as part of its matching process.” Quartz claimed that typically, a driver will be matched with a close destination location. Moreover, “(a) match will only be made during a time that the pick-up location of the available delivery (the destination location) is within a proximity range of the driver’s mobile computing device (which is running the Fleet app). The Fleet app then allegedly notifies the driver about the opportunity for delivery with a code and the driver can accept the delivery offer. Once accepted, Postmates sends the driver the destination location address. Therefore, Quartz averred that Postmates utilizes its patented method for its Fleet app and delivery system.

The plaintiff has sought a judgment in its favor, a permanent injunction, an award for damages, an award for costs and fees, pre-judgment interest, and other relief.

Quartz Auto Technologies is represented by Bayard, P.A. as well as Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery LLP. The company filed similar suits against Uber and Lyft in March.