IRVINE, CALIF.—Booking a ride using Lyft and Uber is as ubiquitous in cities today as hailing a cab and catching the bus were a generation ago. So with so much on the line, it is no surprise that the intellectual property behind ride-sharing apps is now in dispute.

Retired Georgia Tech University professor Stephen Dickerson claims he patented the idea of cellphone-based ride-sharing back in 2000, calling his company “RideApp”. Womble Bond Dickinson patent litigation partner Brent Babcock discussed his ongoing challenge with’s “Skilled in the Art” column.

In the latest developments, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board turned down an inter partes review request challenging the validity of RideApp’s patent. However, the PTAB ruled that the claimed patent is “indefinite” – which Babcock said could be major trouble for RideApp as the dispute moves forward. He tells “Skilled in the Art” that the company faces an uphill challenge to show that the PTAB erred in labeling its patent claims as indefinite.

“You'd be getting out your microscope and looking over the specification real carefully to point out where the PTAB was wrong,” Babcock said.

Click here to read “PTAB Calls Ride-Sharing Patent Indefinite” in’s “Skilled in the Art” column (subscription required).

Brent Babcock represents high-technology clients in every aspect of intellectual property disputes, focusing on federal district court litigation throughout the country, trials and post-grant patent proceedings before the USPTO's Patent Trial and Appeal Board and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings, including domestic and international arbitrations. His practice also includes pre-litigation counseling, pre-interference and post-grant proceeding consulting, and appellate briefing and oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.