Tomahawk Systems Receives Patent for Distracted Driving, 'No Texting While Driving' Solution for Cell Phones in a Vehicle

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On 1/24/2012 the USPTO issued patent 8103292 to Tomahawk Systems for what may very well be the next 'air bag' in terms of driver safety regarding the use of cell phones in a vehicle, focusing on 'no texting while driving'.

Tomahawk Systems (http://www.idome.net) announced that the USPTO has issued patent no. 8103292 for their methods of preventing texting while driving. Tomahawk Vice President, John Looby says, "In February, 2009, Tomahawk Systems filed for patents on a unique way to prevent texting while driving. Our product, now iDome, was introduced later that year, and our unique method of connecting the vehicle to the phone via Bluetooth or other connectivity protocols solves many of the problems inherent in other methods of Driving While Texting Prevention (DWTP). Our technology is being used by many other firms in the industry, and has quickly become the global standard for preventing texting while driving".

“The plug-in model that exists today is merely the first stage in the development of this technology. A fully embedded solution utilizing the current infotainment platform in vehicles, and/or an in-vehicle personal navigation device is expected by Q2, 2012. Tomahawk is in discussions with OEM vehicle and tier one providers to embed this technology into current infotainment and hands-free platforms in those vehicles, and the decision by the USPTO to grant the patent will escalate those discussions.

Mr. Looby continues, “By bringing the various providers under Tomahawk’s licensing agreements and professional standards guidance, we can promote industry-wide development methods, which allows this technology to be made available on any vehicle and any phone in the future. Too many non-licensed providers developing in alternative formats is detrimental to developing a proper standard that can be used industry-wide.”

Industry analysts predict that over the next several years, vehicle providers will have to provide a texting disablement solution to their customers or they will find their vehicles becoming less insurable; raising the consumers Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The increase in law suits related to texting while driving accidents is expected to be directed at vehicle manufacturers, mobile device providers, and mobile carriers if they do not provide options for consumers to opt-out of receiving texts while a vehicle is in motion. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recently recommended a ban on texting and cell phone usage while driving (http://www.ntsb.gov/news/2011/111213.html) making Tomahawk’s announcement timely.

In related news, Tomahawk has announced that it will formally pursue other DWTP providers who have continued to use the technology without a license from Tomahawk since being notified in mid-2010 of Tomahawk's filings with the USPTO. "Companies such as Zoomsafer, Cell Control, Taser, Safe Driving Systems, Tango Networks and other emerging companies have found our technology useful, and continue to promote this technology as their own without licensing it, even though they have been notified of Tomahawk's intellectual property (IP) rights in this area," Mr. Looby says.

"Tomahawk clearly needs to protect our intellectual property rights. Some of these providers continue to promote their products as “patented”, when the patents that they hold are for technologies such as the embedded GPS model of text disablement. For various technical reasons, the embedded GPS model was largely abandoned; these firms have, over the past 12-18 months, completely re-designed their product lines to use Tomahawk’s technology that ties the vehicle directly to the mobile device for the purpose of disabling texting. Besides the legal ramifications relative to declaring their products as “patented”, we expect that it would be in the best interest of their customers and distributors to remove their “patented” labeling on their current products until they resolve licensing agreements with Tomahawk Systems. It is now time that these providers either begin licensing discussions or return to the technology they were using prior to Tomahawk’s patent filing, otherwise legal action must be pursued.”

Tomahawk’s vision is that every consumer will ultimately have a solution available to disable texting, should they opt to do so. “Keeping people safe on the roads is our first priority. By providing a system that is easy to use and integrated with technologies available today, we allow drivers to opt-in to a solution that frees them from distractions from their cell phones. A single standard allows our technology to be made available to the most drivers.”

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John Looby
j.looby@tomahawk-systems.com
262-337-2808
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