A company called “Hailo Technologies, LLC” has sued both Uber and Lyft over alleged infringement of U.S. patent 5,973,619, which describes an “automated vehicle dispatch and payment honoring system.” The patent, filed by Alexis Paredes in 1997 and granted in 1999, describes a software system that allows a user to pick a means of transportation from a menu, enter in a destination along with the number of passengers, shows you the estimated cost of the ride and then accepts payment via scanned cards.
Hailo Technologies, LLC (no connection to cab hailing company Hailo) is a completely separate entity that has absolutely no relation to the Hailo that built a ride-hailing business spanning multiple European locations. Hailo Technologies, LLC was incorporated this year in California, and also operates under the trade name “Bring”.
The company lists itself as a “Holding company” on its California business registration.
Uber recently launched its own patent purchase program, called UP3, which is part of an overall strategy to increase its IP holdings through acquisition and its own engineering efforts, in order to protect the company from legal action – including cases like this – in the future.