A legal fight is simmering over who holds the patent for the ParkPlus system in the wake of the surprise dismissal of the two men at the helm of the Calgary Parking Authority.
General manager Dale Fraser and his assistant manager Al Bazar were both let go by the board of directors on Thursday, with officials saying it was time to make changes in leadership at the CPA.
But the outgoing parking bosses might still have some legal control over ParkPlus, the automated, solar-powered pay stations which they had installed on Calgary streets four years ago.
"That's getting to be more complicated as time goes on," said Ald. Dale Hodges, who sits on the authority's board of directors.
The city likely has the patent for the ParkPlus name in Canada. But in the U.S. — where patents are required to be filed under an inventor's name — Fraser or Bazar's names might have been registered, Hodges said.
"There's going to be an issue, in fact there already is, as to whether Mr. Fraser and Mr. Bazar have a claim on the U.S. side of the patent business or not at all," he said.
Hodges said he is uncertain what the potential ramifications are if the city wants to sell the system in the U.S. But Patent lawyer Bill Stemp said there could be big problems if Fraser or Bazar's names are indeed on the patent.
"If he owns the patent or owns the majority interest of the patent he would be able to control how it's to be used in the U.S, in what towns or cities, the rates and royalties and licence fees that could be charged, that sort of thing," said patent lawyer Bill Stemp.
City lawyers are now looking into the issue, officials said.