Parking Guidance System Sparks Patent Suit

Parking Technology Holdings filed a patent infringement complaint against Park Assist for “provid[ing] [a] parking guidance” system and infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,893,848 (the “’848 patent”), which is entitled “Apparatus and Method for Locating, Identifying and Tracking Vehicles in a Parking Area.” Park Assist’s infringing products and services include M4 Smart-Sensor, L4 Lightpipe Sensor, S1 Outdoor Solution, Sparx platform, Park Alerts, Park Finder, and Park Surveillance. Park Assist provides advanced parking guidance systems to improve traffic flow at large venues.

 Parking Technology claimed that Park Assist was aware of the patent, but despite this knowledge has continued to infringe the ’848 patent. While Park Assist claims it invented the idea of “camera based guidance,” Parking Technology refutes this claim. Instead, Parking Technology states that the “’848 patent explicitly discloses and claims camera-based parking guidance systems.” Additionally, Parking Technology noted that Park Assist “was forced to repeatedly narrow the claims of its patent application in response to the Examiner’s repeated rejections applying the ’848 patent as prior art.”

Parking Technology alleges that Park Assist infringes on at least claims 1-26 of the ’848 patent. For example, claim 4 of the patent states, “A system for use in the management of vehicle parking in a vehicle parking area having a plurality of vehicle parking spaces, the system comprising: one or more first detection units for determining the locations of vacant vehicle parking spaces.” Park Assist’s procuts allegedly uses “a camera based M4 smart-sensors system” to manage “multi-space vehicle parking areas.” Specifically, Park Assist’s M4’s… “camera based smart sensor has the ability to stream surveillance video to the core server, while also sending rich data for integrated License Plate Recognition (LPR), tracking of behaviors and usage patterns, and unprecedented system-wide control.” The M4 smart-sensor creates data “on the behaviors, preferences and usage patterns that affect [a] parking facility on a day-to-day basis.” This information is “fed to the core system of [its] web-based management platform.” This M4 sensor system allows visitors to be guided to empty parking spaces. This technology “guides visitors upon entry to vacant spots using color coded, smart-sensors…Upon return, travelers will easily be able to locate their vehicle using Park Assist’s Park Finder integrated with a Mobile API.”

Parking Technology stated that Park Assist used its patented technology and system as described above, which it claimed constitutes infringement of the ’848 patent because both involve a system to manage parking spaces, specifically using a camera and surveillance system to identify vacant parking spaces.

Parking Technology declared that this infringement was willful and that the defendant had knowledge of the patent. Parking Technology has sought judgment in its favor and a finding that the infringement was willful and deliberate. They also requested a permanent injunction, an award for damages, an award for costs and fees, and other relief as determined by the court.

Parking Technology is represented by Russ August & Kabat. The suit is filed in the Southern District of New York.