11/20/2012Traffic Camera Firm Countersues Traffic Camera Firm Over Patent
Traffic camera firms fights back against rival by arguing video speed camera patent is invalid.
Upstart photo enforcement firm B&W Sensors last week asked a federal judge in Missouri to throw out video speed detection patents recently granted to American Traffic Solutions (ATS). The legal move is designed to undermine the lawsuit ATS had filed against B&W last month before a federal judge in Texas.
"All of the claims of the '685 Patent are invalid, void and/or unenforceable for failure to comply with the requirements of the patent laws of the United States," attorney Douglas E. Warren wrote on behalf of B&W Sensors. "B&W respectfully prays that the court enter judgment in its favor and award the following relief against ATS: ...Permanently enjoin ATS and its officers, directors, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and any and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from asserting, stating, implying or suggesting that B&W and/or any of its respective officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, subsidiaries or customers, infringe any of the claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,213,685."
B&W separately argued that the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas lacks jurisdiction over the case. The company is based in Missouri and has never conducted any business in the Lone Star State other than paying the Texas Transportation Institute to test the firm's video speed detection unit in 2010.
"B&W has not sold, offered for sale, manufactured or imported the accused products in Texas; in fact, video speed detection systems like those offered by B&W are statutorily forbidden in Texas municipalities," B&W attorney Craig Tadlock wrote. "The only possible connection between plaintiff and Texas has been non-commercial testing of the accused product by a Texas-based entity. B&W has also not made any sales or sales presentations for the accused products in Texas. B&W has sold no B&W products of any type to any resident of Texas."
Tadlock went on to accuse ATS of bad sportsmanship, claiming the Arizona-based firm refused to participate in a call or meet with the Missouri-based firm to help speed the legal process. Tadlock added that ATS tried to play a legal "gotcha trick" by filing a motion, failing to serve it on B&W and then claiming the Missouri-based firm lost by default when it failed to respond.
"The court should not reward this sort of tactic," Tadlock wrote.
ATS has been taking the case very seriously from the beginning. On October 17, ATS attorneys sent a sternly worded letter to B&W warning of the alleged patent violation.
"The facts indicate that B&W's violations of ATS's patent claims and other rights have been deliberate," ATS attorney Brian C. Park wrote. "We respectfully request that B&W immediately cease and desist all acts of patent infringement, tortious interference, and unfair competition and confirm its discontinuation thereof via written response to this letter without delay. If B&W persists in violating ATS's rights, this will be interpreted by ATS as further confirmation that B&W's patent and other violations have been knowing and willful."
ATS filed its lawsuit three days later.