Reliance upon proprietary software and failure to think through the contract: Giant Robot Imprisons Parked Cars
In the course of a contract dispute, the city of Hoboken had police escort the Robotic employees from the premises just a few days before the contract between both parties was set to expire. What the city didn’t understand or perhaps concern itself with, is that they sent the company packing with its manuals and the intellectual property rights to the software that made the giant robotic parking structure work.
The Hoboken garage is one of a handful of fully automated parking structures that make more efficient use of space by eliminating ramps and driving lanes, lifting and sliding automobiles into slots and shuffling them as needed. If the robot shuts down, there is no practical way to manually remove parked vehicles.
In the days that followed, both sides dragged each other into court. Robotic accused Hoboken of violating its copyright. “This case is about them using software without a license,” said Dennis Clarke, chief operating officer of Robotic Parking, in a telephone interview last week.
At the same time, Hoboken accused Robotic of setting booby traps in the code, causing the garage to malfunction. Then Robotic accused Hoboken of endangering its business by allowing a competitor into the garage.
See also Hoboken, NJ vs. Giant Parking Robot