Notorious Patent Troll Forced to Stop Targeting Transit Agencies

A patent troll who persistently sued transit agencies for using technology that gives passengers real-time arrival information won’t harass any more transit providers under the terms of a settlement reached in federal court yesterday.

Boston's MBTA was one of the agencies sued by patent troll Martin Kelly Jones. Image: MBTA

The firm known as ArrivalStar — led by a patent holder named Martin Kelley Jones — had sued 11 local transit agencies claiming intellectual property rights over systems that provide real-time arrival information. Many transit agencies chose simply to settle with Arrival Star rather than undergo the expensive and time consuming process of litigation.

In June, the American Public Transit Association filed a counter-suit on behalf of local transit agencies, claiming “ArrivalStar’s patents … were invalid and unenforceable.”

Yesterday, transit agencies prevailed in federal court, reaching a settlement with ArrivalStar in which the company “agreed not to make any future patent infringement claims against any of APTA’s public transportation agency members or any vendors providing goods and services to APTA public transportation agency members,” according to a statement from APTA.

“This is a good day for the public transportation industry and now public transportation agencies and businesses can move forward with innovative technology without threat of baseless litigation,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.

Jones is one of the top 25 filers of patent infringement suits, having brought more than 100 against various entities. The city of Fairfax, Virginia; Boston’s MBTA; New York City’s MTA; Chicago’s Metra, and the Maryland Transit Authority are among the agencies that have reached settlements with him.