CCJ Daily Dispatch, May 28: Omnitracs files patent infringement claim against Platform Science; Diesel prices level after 19-week decline

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Updated May 29, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, May 28, 2020: 

Omnitracs files lawsuit alleging Platform Science software infringes on its patents
On Tuesday, May 26, Omnitracs filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California alleging that Platform Science has stolen its intellectual property related to fleet management systems.

Omnitracs has asked the court to enforce protections of Omnitracs’ patents.

Anne Davis, Platform Science’s director of marketing, said the company is aware of the complaint but that it would not comment on the allegations.

Omnitracs in its lawsuit says it “finds ‘[itself] competing for the same customers against the very technologies they invented and patented.”

Platform Science was founded in 2014 by Jack Kennedy after he left Omnitracs, where he served as president of the business unit when it was owned by Qualcomm. Today, much of Platform’s leadership consists of former Omnitracs employees who were senior managers and technical support staff.

Omnitracs has been issued approximately 200 patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The accused products in this case include Platform Science’s Connected Vehicle Platform, Platform Science Express and Platform Science Enterprise, and the associated hardware and/or software.

The legal complaint states that Platform Science copied Omnitracs’ products and patented technology by leveraging the knowledge of former Omnitracs employees, and that it did so despite full knowledge of the patented technologies.

One of the first motor carriers to use Omnitracs was Schneider, who was also one of the first fleets to deploy Platform Science’s enterprise IoT telematics system. Platform Science developed some product features that were important to Schneider when the Green Bay, Wisconsin-based carrier decided to make the investment.

Other fleets that use Platform Science include Mesilla Valley Transportation and Werner.

Recently, Platform Science announced that Daimler Truck AG has made an investment in the company to help its mutual fleet customers by offering built-in telematics hardware that works with Platform Science software on authorized mobile devices.

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Diesel prices tick up for first time since early January
The U.S.’ average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel increased for the first time since the beginning of the year during the week ending May 26, according to the Department of Energy’s weekly report.

Prices had fallen nearly 70 cents over 19 consecutive weeks from $3.079 per gallon during the week ending Jan. 6 to $2.386 per gallon during the week ending May 18 before a slight uptick of four-tenths of a cent during the most recent week.

Diesel prices now stand at $2.39 per gallon nationwide. The nation’s cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $2.175 per gallon, followed by the Midwest region at $2.23 per gallon.

The most expensive fuel can be found in California at $3.182 per gallon, followed by the Central Atlantic region at $2.666 per gallon.

Cargo theft volumes increased year-over-year in the first quarter of 2020, while the average value of thefts decreased.Cargo theft volumes increased year-over-year in the first quarter of 2020, while the average value of thefts decreased.

First quarter cargo theft volumes up, values down
Cargo theft activity was higher year-over-year in the first quarter of 2020 despite a drop in theft values, according to data gathered from police reports and insurance companies by cargo theft recording firm SensiGuard.

The firm reports a 49% increase in theft volume with a 9% decrease in value in 2020’s first quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. SensiGuard recorded a total of 217 cargo thefts during the first quarter of 2020 with an average loss value of $105,659. No thefts during the period were worth more than $1 million, the firm notes.

Miscellaneous items were the most commonly stolen cargo, accounting for 29% of the total during the quarter. Miscellaneous thefts were mostly made up of mixed loads, which typically hold a variety of cargo for mixed retail stores, SensiGuard says. Food and drinks were in the second spot in the quarter, making up 15% of total thefts.

Theft of full truckload as the most common theft type at 62% of all reported thefts. The increase, SensiGuard says, is due to a decrease in the pilferage rate, which was 6% lower than the first quarter of 2019.

California continues to be the most stolen from state, the firm reports, with 19% of the total in the U.S. The state was led by thefts of electronics and food and drinks. California was followed by Texas (12% of total thefts), Illinois (12%), Florida (11%) and Georgia (8%).

Konexial launches new trailer security system
Kenexial unveiled Wednesday its My20 Locking System, a keyless, high-security, digital smart-locking system used to provide trailer and container security for the company’s My20 ELD and Fleet Management customers.

The system, developed in partnership with Nokē, uses Nokē’s smart-locking hardware, dual-layered encryption keys and and controlled from Konexial’s My20 software. The system can lock, unlock, track and control all lock access from anywhere.

The system is available in two forms: HD Padlock and Lock Block. The HD Padlock is made of hardened steel and is made to withstand tough environments and extreme weather conditions. The Lock Block is a heavy-duty, steel housing that offers additional protection for the HD Padlock to provide an extreme-security, tamper-resistant, keyless locking system.