Corona, CA: AVT Explores Enforcing Patent For Wireless Vending Machine Management

AVT Inc. chairman and founder Shannon Illingworth told VT that the company is exploring the legal ramifications of its recently issued patent that relates to wireless networks for vending machines.

AVT's patented technology employs graphical touchscreen user interfaces, which can include means for paying for items vended and a two-way wireless network to connect an enterprise control center with remote vending machines. The patent, which covers 19 claims, does not apply to wireless control of a single machine nor to those networked by a DSL connection, Illingworth explained. See Patent No. 8,191,779 B2

AVT reportedly began developing the technology in 2001 and applied for the patent in 2005.

"The bottom line is that the patent covers any system that is managing multiple machines wirelessly via a control center, with any of four or five types of connection, including WiFi and Bluetooth," Illingworth claims.

Illingworth said that AVT does not yet know if any existing providers of the technology covered in its patent are infringing. "We do know that other companies are using the technology, but we don't know who is infringing," he said. "From what we understand, if they can't show they used the technology prior to when we filed for the patent, then we have a valid claim."

He said the company is in the process of sending out letters to companies that may be infringing, to inform them of AVT's recently issued patent and that the Corona, CA, developer of automated retailing systems is exploring its legal rights.

"If they are infringing, we will work with them to license or use our system," Illingworth said. "At the end of the day, the more operators out there with multiple machines using credit cards and being managed efficiently is good for all of us."

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