Via’s patent lawsuit is meritless, asserts RideCo. RideCo’s user optionality-based technology, which predates Via’s patents, is fundamentally different from the technology of Via’s patents. In RideCo’s counterclaim, RideCo asserts that Via has pivoted from its initial model and is instead now intentionally copying RideCo’s technology and willfully infringing on RideCo’s patents.
July 26, 2021 (Los Angeles, CA) — RideCo, a leader in on-demand public transit solutions, today formally denied allegations made by Via Transportation (“Via”) in a patent infringement lawsuit Via filed in the Western District of Texas, and RideCo brought its own patent infringement counterclaim against Via to protect RideCo’s intellectual property. RideCo is seeking an award of damages and an order permanently enjoining Via from further infringing RideCo’s patents.
RideCo is a pioneer in the public transit technology space, launching North America’s first on-demand public transit service in Milton, Ontario in April 2015. Today, RideCo has leading market share of the largest cities in the United States. Among the 10 largest cities in the U.S., 6 transit agencies have adopted app based on-demand public transit, and RideCo serves 50% of them. RideCo powers the largest on-demand public transit program (involving 110 shuttles) in the U.S..
The response states that the technology underlying RideCo’s service is fundamentally different from traditional consumer ride-sharing services, in which the consumer presses a button and gets matched to a driver in real-time. In development since 2012, RideCo’s patented approach to on-demand public transit uses distributed parallel processing to dynamically develop and provide the user with options that vary based on parameters related to the level of efficiency, such as pickup times, drop-off times, locations, time travelled, or cost. The user then chooses the ride that suits them best. The response states that Via’s suggestion that RideCo intentionally copied Via’s patented technology is meritless. The response further notes that at no point prior to the filing of Via’s lawsuit did Via ever notify RideCo of its allegations of infringement.
RideCo charges Via with infringing two of RideCo’s patents. In late 2017, Via announced that it would be launching a “new” on-demand public transit service. Via began providing the variant trip booking optionality that was pioneered and patented by RideCo years earlier. In July 2019, RideCo provided Via with notice of its patent rights. At no point did Via seek permission to practice the technology in RideCo’s patents, despite having express knowledge of them.
The counterclaim states that Via originally entered the market with a traditional approach common in ride-hailing apps of the 2010s — using an app to determine the user’s ride without allowing the user to choose their ride from variant booking options. Via began as a ride-hailing company focusing on luxury ride-sharing in a premium SUV or Mercedes van in high-density urban city centers such as Manhattan. Just like the traditional approach, in Via’s original luxury ride-sharing service, “algorithms match you with the best vehicle for your ride.” The patents that Via has now asserted against RideCo describe this type of traditional approach in which a computer dynamically matches a rider to a driver without user choice and intervention. However, the counterclaim notes that Via shifted focus in late 2017 to follow RideCo’s on-demand public transit business model using RideCo’s patented user optionality approach.
RideCo’s counterclaim asserts that RideCo is the true pioneer of the on-demand public transit market, introducing first-to-market technology capabilities such as (i) the ability for the user to reserve a shared ride both in-advance and real-time, (ii) offering the user a pickup time and committed arrive-before time prior to their ride reservation, and (iii) enabling a transit operator to offer comingled stop-based and doorstep pickup and drop-off service models in the app. Years later, Via started offering these features to catch up to RideCo.
“RideCo is and has always been the true pioneer in on-demand public transit. Our innovative technology delivers superior outcomes for our clients, and the market has rewarded our innovation with a leading market share position among the largest cities in the United States.” said Prem Gururajan, CEO of RideCo. “While RideCo prefers to compete in the marketplace, we will defend our business and we will defend our own patented innovations.”
About RideCo: RideCo is the world’s leading microtransit technology and services company. We partner with transit agencies, municipalities, and experienced local fleet operators to design and operate on-demand transit services, powered by our proprietary cloud-based platform. Our solutions make transit more personal and accessible for riders while lowering transit operators’ cost-per-ride, reducing demand for parking, and attracting net new riders to transit systems. Visit RideCo’s website for more information.
Response and Counterclaim: https://docsend.com/view/4rcncyjfcvys9qdp