Calgary ParkPlus multi-million lawsuit and ownership settlement – An exclusive inside look at a “key” piece of evidence

Tuesday, 9 April, 2013

ParkPlus settlement with Dale Fraser, former CPA General Manager

Background of the “key” piece of evidence

Now that Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) has settled the Parkplus parking management system ownership dispute and disclosed some key information (see endnotes), this reporter feels comfortable in sharing an exclusive inside look at one piece of evidence against Mr. Dale Fraser’s ownership claim without risking harm to the city and CPA’s legal case.

This key piece of evidence (you can judge for yourself to see if you agree it is “key” or not) was an August 2008 video interview with Mr. Dale Fraser conducted by this reporter. In the extensive August 2008 interview (where Alderman Dale Hodges was also interviewed), a variety of ParkPlus topics (including patents) were discussed. This video evidence was almost “lost” at one point as it was originally uploaded and stored on the now discontinued Google Video service!

Fortunately, after some help from a Google engineer friend, the August 2008 interview was recovered along with a few hundred uploaded videos. The video interview was useful enough that Calgary Parking Authority licensed it to help its case which is why I’m claiming this as an “exclusive inside look“.

Unlike the parties involved in the legal settlement (Calgary Parking Authority, City of Calgary, Mr. Dale Fraser, and Mr. Allan Bazar), I am an independent reporter and not bound by any confidentiality agreement.

An exclusive inside look at a key piece of evidence

In the August 2008 interview, former Calgary Parking Authority General Manager Mr. Dale Fraser told this reporter,

”Calgary Parking Authority did create the proprietary approach to this new parking system. And we [CPA] do have a patent-pending on this approach at this time.”

During the 30+ minutes interview, at NO point did Mr. Fraser leave this reporter with the impression the pending Canada/US ParkPlus patent was his (or his & Mr. Allan Bazar’s) personal invention or intellectual property. In fact, Mr. Fraser seemed to me quite clear in explaining the system was developed by MTS Allstream with the funds/resources from Calgary Parking Authority.

As suggested in “The Patents” section in the 2008 August report “ParkPlus by Calgary Parking Authority – Reimagining the Wheels“,

US patent is one of the most important ones to apply for, simply because the US is one of the largest markets and it has a reasonably strong patent protection regime.

Here is my 2008 interview video (pay attention to time code ~3:40 to ~3:50).

[Please note that the interview is protected by copyright. License and use requests (including for press and media) are to be submitted via email and will be handled promptly.]

This article is cross-posted by me to examiner.

Endnotes: Although the settlement agreement has confidentiality clauses, the parties agree to disclose the following information (emphasis added) and I quote from the Media Release – ParkPlus Settlement – April 2013,

(1) The Defendants, Dale Fraser, Allan Bazar and 1707626 Alberta Ltd., (now Intelli-Park Corporation) acknowledge that the City of Calgary and CPA are the exclusive owners of the ParkPlus SystemTM and that none of the Defendants has any right, title or interest whatsoever in the ParkPlus SystemTM;
(2) While the ParkPlus SystemTM is valuable and all necessary consideration for settlement is acknowledged, there is no payment by the City of Calgary or CPA of any money whatsoever to any of the Defendants or any other person;
(3) The claims and counterclaims in the action will be wholly discontinued without costs; and
(4) The parties release each other from all claims and counterclaims in the action including any claims relating to the ParkPlus SystemTM or the employment of Dale Fraser and Allan Bazar with the City of Calgary and CPA.


Viagra free-for-all: Viagra patent deemed impotent by Supreme Court of Canada

Thursday, 8 November, 2012

In a ground breaking 7-0 unanimous decision “Teva Canada Ltd. v. Pfizer Canada Inc., 2012 SCC 60″ today, Supreme Court of Canada has declared Pfizer’s Viagra patent void in Canada with serious sales/financial implications. Quoting Justice LeBel (emphasis added),

Patent 2,163,446 is void.

The patent application did not satisfy the disclosure requirements set out in the Patent Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P‑4 (“Act”).  The patent system is based on a “bargain”: the inventor is granted exclusive rights in a new and useful invention for a limited period in exchange for disclosure of the invention so that society can benefit from this knowledge.  Sufficiency of disclosure lies at the very heart of the patent system, so adequate disclosure in the specification is a precondition for the granting of a patent.

According to Globe & Mail, “Pfizer Canada made about $80-million last year from sales of Viagra.” Company doesn’t have to apply for patents and disclose the secrets of their inventions. Like Coke just keeps its formula as a trade secret. But if a company wants to get patents, the disclosure requirements are no joking matter and can mean billions as in this case.

Lets be clear on one thing, the declaration of Pfizer’s Viagra patent void doesn’t mean you get Viagra free as some men wish to! It does mean the patent protection afforded Pfizer exclusive right is now gone, and Canadian users of Viagra can expect cheaper generic version of Viagra type drugs to be available soon. In fact, according to CBC News,

The unanimous decision opens the door for Teva to introduce a generic version of Viagra. By the afternoon on Thursday, Teva had already moved to do just that, posting a message on its website, announcing the creation of Novo-Sildenafil and noting the product is available via prescription.

P.S. I am not a lawyer in Canada or U.S. so you should check with expert first. My understanding is that under the U.S. patent and trademark system, the “disclosure requirement” is better know as “2165 The Best Mode Requirement (linked to USPTO)” which I relied heavily in a 2006 patent review I did on an entrepreneur’s patent application within an episode of CBC award-winning hit TV show Dragons’ Den!

NOTE: This article is cross-posted by me at examiner.com


Two Google lawyers reflect on Oracle v. Google

Monday, 11 June, 2012

Great interviews re “Oracle v. Google” patent and copyright trail with two Google attorneys: general counsel Kent Walker, and litigation counsel Renny Hwang. Highly recommended. [HT +Lauren Weinstein]


Patent Wars Are “Pain in the Ass,” Says Apple CEO Tim Cook (Video)

Tuesday, 29 May, 2012

Setting aside my love/hate of Apple, have a watch of Apple CEO Tim Cook at AllThingsD.

Kara Swisher asks about the patent wars (video). “Is it a problem for innovation?”

Cook says “Well, it is a pain in the ass. Is it a problem for innovation?” Then Cook thought and waited for 7 long seconds before continuing, “From our point of view, it is important for Apple not be the developer for the world,”Do you think Tim Cook is right or he overstates Apple’s case?


NanoTech Security – Plasmonics as an anti-counterfeiting measure for banknotes and pharmaceuticals

Friday, 23 December, 2011

NanoTech Security anti-counterfeiting measure - pix 01NanoTech Security anti-counterfeiting measure - pix 04

I came across NanoTech Security‘s (a Surrey, B.C. based company) interesting anti-counterfeiting measure for banknotes or pharmaceuticals in this Fast Company article “A Never Before Seen Optical Trick Creates Ultra-Secure Cash“. [HT Bruce Schneier]

Imagine a bill covered with microscopic holes that make it glow slightly in the light. It’s tech borrowed from a butterfly, and it may soon be foiling counterfeiters around the world.

If all goes as planned, the world’s supply of cash will soon be secured with a nano-scale optical defense that is as secure as it is visually impressive. […]

The technology was inspired by the Blue Morpho butterfly, whose brilliant blue coloration comes not from pigment but the way that tiny holes in its scales reflect light. But the tech, called Nano-Optic Technology for Enhanced Security (NOtES), is different from the Morpho butterfly’s wings, and pretty much all other bio-inspired reflective optical technologies, in that it is both extraordinarily thin and functions even in dim light.

NOtES exploits an obscure area of physics to accomplish its bright and sharp display, known as plasmonic (or via Wikipedia). Light waves interact with the array of nano-scale holes on a NOtES display–which are typically 100-200 nanometers in diameter–in a way that creates what are called “surface plasmons.” In the words of the company, this means light “[collects] on the films surface and creates higher than expected optical outputs by creating an electromagnetic field, called surface plasmonic resonance.”

If you are interested in digging deeper into the technical details, have a read of “US patent 2010/0271174 – Security document with electroactive polymer power source and nano-optical display” by I|D|ME‘s Chief Scientific Officier Bozena Kaminska (a list of Bozena’s US Patent) and Chief Technology Officier Clinton K. Landrock (a list of Clint’s US Patent) (by the way, here is Clint’s Twitter).

Here are two informative videos from NanoTech Security so you can see how cool it is.

NOtES – An Introduction

NTS NOtES Master Shim and Embossed Banknote Grade Polypropolyene

I am a tech geek so I love cool technologies but I am also realistic as I understand there are many real world requirements and challenges before this or any other advanced technologies are accepted and adopted.

By the way, Bank of Canada is in the process of launching the 2011 series of polymer banknotes with technologies by Securency International and BoC and printed in Canada by Note Printing Australia (NPA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia). So far, BoC has launched the new polymer $100 banknotes in Nov 2011, and will launch the $50 in March 2012, the widely circulated $20 in Fall 2012. And $10 and $5 before the end of 2013. To deter counterfeiting of banknotes, BoC plans to update its banknotes design faster than before (in 8 years time).

NanoTech Security anti-counterfeiting measure - pix 02

NanoTech Security anti-counterfeiting measure - pix 03

Further links/readings:

* Gizmodo article “The Money of the Future Will Shine Like Crazy”

* NanoTech Security (NTS) is a TSX-Venture listed company and you can download its financial & regulatory filings from the Canadian Securities Administrators SEDAR database by searching for “NanoTech Security Corp“. For some reason, I could only find annual reports from 2003 – 2008. I am surprised I couldn’t find annual reports for 2009 and 2010 in the SEDAR database. What happened to these two reports?

P.S. For the record, here is some not so positive news about Securency International (July 1st, 2011 press release) and Reserve Bank of Australia & NPA (July 1st, 2011 press release).


The Great Mobile Patent War – Are your popcorn ready?

Thursday, 8 September, 2011

Bloomberg, Sept 7, 2011, “Google Hands HTC Patents to Use Against Apple

“HTC Corp. (2498), Asia’s second-biggest smartphone maker, is using nine patents bought from Google Inc. (GOOG) last week to pursue new infringement claims against Apple Inc.

Google had taken ownership of the patents less than a year ago, with four of the patents originating from Motorola Inc., three from Openwave Systems Inc. and two from Palm Inc., according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records. Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based Google, wouldn’t discuss reasons for the nine transfers to HTC.

HTC now has more ammunition in its fight to fend off multiple patent-infringement claims lodged by Apple that contend phones running Google’s Android operating system copy the iPhone. Google’s involvement in aiding HTC represents a new front in an industrywide dispute over smartphone technology that has also ensnared Android customers Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.”

From ZDNet, Sept 8, 2011, “Mobile patent litigation: A game with too many playing cards – Summary: Patent litigation in the mobile space is out of control. It has become a game with too many playing cards for anyone to win.

From Fortune, Sept 8, 2011 “Google gets its hands dirty – Android’s purveyor crossed a line when it sold arms to be used against Apple

P.S. I tried, without success I have to say, to get a blog friend to share his insight re this patent war, he wisely declined and told me it would be more fun to watch from the sidelines!


Colourful and durable carbon fiber devices

Thursday, 1 September, 2011

Interesting innovation from Apple.

Apple Insider, “Apple interested in creating colorful, durable carbon fiber devices

US Patent Application, published Sept 1, 2011, 20110210476, “Composite Laminate Having An Improved Cosmetic Surface And Method Of Making Same”


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