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: ##

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.

13 thoughts on Notorious Patent Troll Forced to Stop Targeting Transit Agencies

  1. More like rich than dead, unfortunately. He got what he wanted, tens of thousands of dollars from transit operators who chose to settle with him.

  2. A lack of finding that his patents are invalid. So, he gets to keep the taxpayers’ money he’s already extorted from transit agencies.

  3. Yes, ArrivalStar didn’t want this to go further because it likely would have resulted in their patents being declared invalid. And having been sued by them, I know their patents well. They did not apply to transit agencies providing real-time info. They would have eventually lost the case. But their key motivation for settling and keeping their patents alive was so they could continue to sue big companies like airlines and UPS. So the troll isn’t dead. But at least now they will leave transit agencies and their suppliers alone.

  4. “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.”

    Of course the MTA, the ultimate sucker. You need to add the MTA’s inside lawyers and outside lawyers to the reasons the it pays so much for everything. The contractors screw them, threaten to sue, and the MTA rolls over.

    Funny what happens when the public agency does an investigation in turn, rather than rolling over, and is Cititime. The contractor PAYS a settlement.

  5. Airlines should have no trouble finding prior art. In fact, I coded such a system in my wayward youth. The folks I’m most concerned about are the creators of transit apps. Perhaps APTA could give them free membership.

  6. Oh that’s a good point. I wonder if they’re covered by this settlement? For example, if someone makes an app that scrapes Muni’s data, are they still vulnerable to a lawsuit, or is it OK since Muni owns the data and can dictate the terms under which it is used?

  7. Marc – that’s not the correct photo of Pete Sirianni. This is the correct photo. He lives in PA, not FL. The photo you found could be his dad or a relative.

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