Scooter Company Lime Sued for Alleged Infringement of ‘Scan to Unlock’ Patents

Plaintiff Q Technologies Inc. filed a complaint on Thursday in the Western District of Texas against Neutron Holdings Inc., doing business as Lime, alleging that the defendant infringed its patents via Lime’s Scan to Unlock feature.

The patents-in-suit are United States Patent Nos. 9,635,108 (the ’108 patent); 10,567,473 (the ’473 patent); and 10,594,774 (the ’774 patent), all of which are entitled “Systems and Methods for Content Sharing Using Uniquely Generated Iden(t)ifiers.” Q Technologies claimed that it notified Lime of its infringement and sent a cease and desist.

The plaintiff alleged that Lime “makes, uses, sell, and offers to sell in the United States products and services, including Lime’s scooter sharing platform and mobile application that incorporate the ‘Scan to Unlock’ feature that infringe Q Technologies’ Asserted Patents.”

For example, Lime purportedly has infringed at least claim 1, 2, 4, 7, 10, 11, 13, and 16 of the ’108 patent via its Scan to Unlock feature. According to the claim chart for exemplary claim 1 of the’108 patent, the patent states: “A method for sharing content, comprising: a server, configured to communicate to a first and second client; receiving, at a server, from a first client, a shared content, and a unique identifier generated by a computer application running on the first client or server, for the shared content; wherein the unique identifier comprises one of: a QR code, bar code, RFID tag, … receiving, at the second client, the unique identifier, from the first client … the server determines that the first client is within a predefined distance from the second … (and that) the unique identifier is associated with the shared content.”

Accordingly, Lime, which operates a scooter sharing service, purportedly “allows users to unlock and ride Lime’s fleet of e-scooters and powered bikes via smartphone app.” The plaintiff claimed that these e-scooters collect information, such as “location and battery information/operational range.” Q Technologies asserted that “(t)he data collected by the e-scooter is uploaded to a cloud computing server and then shared with a user or rider through a mobile application.” Moreover, the plaintiff alleged that Lime’s mobile app “requires a server communicating data between the scooter (first client) and the mobile device of the rider (second client).”

The plaintiff stated that Lime’s server receives shared content like the data collected by scooters from on-board electronics, such as GPS and battery information. This collected data purportedly is associated with a scooter via a unique identifier QR code, which is on the scooter’s handlebar. The plaintiff alleged that “(w)hen a rider requests a Lime scooter, the rider scans the unique identifier located on the scooter using the Lime mobile app,” which determines that the rider is within the specified predetermined distance or at the scooter when the rider can scan the QR code, thus unlocking the ride and updating the user’s app with their scooter information and related data.

The plaintiff seeks an order adjudging the defendant’s willful infringement; preliminary and permanent injunction; an award for damages, costs, and fees; pre- and post-judgment interest; and other relief.

Q Technologies is represented by Kane Russell Coleman Logan PC and Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP.