Omnitracs Sues Motive Technologies for Patent Infringement

Company Alleges Motive Copied Its Products and Patents, and Sold Its Technologies
Omnitracs booth
An Omnitracs booth at an industry show. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

Motive Technologies Inc. in a Dec. 6 legal filing attacked the legal standing of a technology patent infringement lawsuit filed against it by Omnitracs that alleges Motive for years copied Omnitracs products and patents, and leveraged information from former Omnitracs employees in development of its product line.

“For over three decades, plaintiffs have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in cutting-edge safety and fleet technologies that have transformed the fleet management and telematics industries,” Omnitracs said in the Oct. 13 lawsuit, in which Omnitracs technology partners XRS Corp. and SmartDrive Systems are also named as plaintiffs. “That investment has resulted in a variety of innovative hardware and software solutions, including artificial intelligence, driver safety, and vehicle dispatch technologies.”

“Today, Motive offers fleet management, safety and compliance software applications and in-vehicle telematics hardware,” the lawsuit said. “Rather than design and develop its own services and technologies to provide legitimate competition to plaintiffs, Motive has taken shortcuts and used the innovative technologies designed, developed and patented by plaintiffs.”

The suit continued, “Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to protect their intellectual property investments and to hold Motive accountable for its willful infringement. Motive’s actions have caused harm to plaintiffs, as alleged below, by incorporating plaintiffs’ patented technologies into Motive’s products.”

The allegations center specifically on 11 patents.

In its response, Motive denied the allegations and asked the court to dismiss the case.

Motive logo

“Plaintiffs’ infringement allegations using the XRS patents fail as a matter of law because the accused product cannot meet the XRS patent claims,” Motive wrote. “Second, plaintiff’s allegations of willfulness and indirect infringement do not meet established pleading standards set forth by the federal circuit.” Motive further stated that two of the “asserted patents” are ineligible for protection under federal patent law.

“There are no viable mechanisms for plaintiffs to cure the latent defects in their allegations,” Motive said of the claims.

In its lawsuit, Omnitracs alleged that in December 2015, Motive (then known as KeepTruckin) hired Dan Fuglewicz, a senior engineering director, from XRS.

Omnitracs logo

“Mr. Fuglewicz is listed as an inventor on several patents at issue in this case,” Omnitracs alleged. “Upon hiring Mr. Fuglewicz, Motive immediately began using XRS’s technology to develop new and improved products to gain a larger share of the fleet management market — products Motive continues to market and sell to this day.

“Motive’s employment of Mr. Fuglewicz enabled Motive’s rapid development and marketing of the accused products, despite its much later arrival in the fleet management industry. If Motive’s improper copying and use of plaintiffs’ technologies allows it to avoid what is needed to develop new products, other companies will be encouraged to simply copy others’ proprietary technologies rather than hire their own engineers, invest in innovation, and develop new technologies independently and organically.”

Motive responded that the plaintiffs fail to “allege any facts showing Mr. Fuglewicz informed Motive of the XRS patents, much less had knowledge of any alleged infringement of the XRS patents.”

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing above or go here for more info

Omnitracs said it attempted to resolve the infringement issues directly with Motive through communications and correspondence with Motive executives and counsel.

“Plaintiffs sent Motive a letter raising its concerns that Motive was using its technology without permission, specifically identifying the ’873 patent, and discussed the issues with Motive in person,” the lawsuit said. “Thus, Motive has been on notice of these infringement allegations since at least July 2018, if not sooner. Despite knowing of plaintiffs’ infringement allegations, Motive did nothing and continued to infringe plaintiffs’ patents and technologies.”

Omnitracs called on the court to conduct a jury trial.