US Govt to Pay $103M for TSA’s Misuse of Patent for Handling Trays at Checkpoints

TSA patent airport trays

US Govt to Pay $103M for TSA’s Misuse of Patent for Handling Trays at Checkpoints

We’ve all seen the trays when passing through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport security checkpoints. The system seems simple enough, but the TSA has apparently been misusing the technology for handling trays. Now the U.S. government owes at least $103 million to a patent holding company.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims said the TSA used SecurityPoint Holdings Inc’s patented methods for most of its security screenings at the largest U.S. airports since 2008. 

SecurityPoint’s founder Joseph Ambrefe offered the TSA a license to his patent in 2005 in exchange for the exclusive right to advertise on the trays at U.S. airports. TSA tested the technology but refused the offer. But then, the TSA began using that same method with its own equipment at most or all of the airports. TSA universally adopted plaintiff’s patented method as its default means for screening at all Category X and Category I airports. SecurityPoint sued the U.S. government for patent infringement in 2011.

After a trial last year, U.S. Judge Eric Bruggink of the Court of Federal Claims said in an August opinion unsealed Friday that the government owes SecurityPoint $103.6 million in royalties from 2008 through the date of the opinion. That’s based on $0.02 per passenger. He said that the TSA’s checkpoint design guides, employee testimony and expert testimony showed that with a few exceptions, SecurityPoint’s tray-recycling method was “universally used as the default method for all lanes” at the largest U.S. airports.

SecurityPoint had requested $618 million in royalties, and the government had proposed a $12.6 million lump sum.

2 thoughts on “US Govt to Pay $103M for TSA’s Misuse of Patent for Handling Trays at Checkpoints

  1. DD,
    You should link to this so your readers can understand this silly patent and situation.
    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/12/stupid-patent-month-carrying-trays-cart

    What is stated in most articles I have looked through do not elaborate on the term “Tray recycling” and are so vague I had to search several sites to find out what they meant. It means moving the scanned empty bins (my word because I have not once ever seen a “tray” at the x-ray area) back to the beginning of the line after used by means of a couple of carts.

    • Yep, that’s a good explanation, “send trays through a checkpoint and use two carts to move the trays back and forth”.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.