A pair of foreign companies today sued the MBTA, alleging the system it uses to notify passengers of late trains and buses violates two patents they hold for compiling information on the whereabouts of vehicles and then notifying people of their status.
The lawsuit-happy companies - they've filed dozens of similar lawsuits since 2002 against software vendors, parcel companies, online ticketing services, airlines and airports - seek unspecified oodles of money from the MBTA and an end to the T-Alert system. They sued in US District Court in Boston.
ArrivalStar, based in Luxembourg, and Melvino Technologies, of the British Virgin Islands, do not actually make anything, but own numerous U.S. patents related to the idea of notifying customers of the status of vehicles and shipments.
The patents at issue:
Base station system and method for monitoring travel of mobile vehicles and communicating notification messages
Notification system and method that informs a party of vehicle delay.