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Mobike defends its lock system in court

By Zhou Wenting | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-17 08:44

A reporter uses her cellphone to scan the QR code on a mobike on Oct 19, 2016 in Beijing. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Chinese bike-sharing giant Mobike testified in a Shanghai court on Wednesday that its technical process for unlocking the shared bikes is different from the invention of an auto parts technician surnamed Hu, who sued the company for patent infringement.

"The unlocking process of Mobike-which involves the Mobike App on users' smartphones, a cloud server and a lock controller on each bike that are all connected via wireless signal-is more complicated than the patent Hu holds," She Yifeng, attorney for the defendant Mobike (Beijing) Information Technology Co, said at the Shanghai No 3 Intermediate People's Court.

Hu said he submitted a patent application for his invention of an operating method to unlock bicycles to the State Intellectual Property Office in June 2013 and was granted a patent in May 2016.

Hu said that his invention also involved users' smartphones and the vehicles.

"When a user scans a QR code with a smartphone to unlock a bicycle, a system will compare the image to the one stored in its system to determine if they are identical. If yes, it will signal the controller to unlock the bicycle," he said.

He said he believed the lock-control system in use by Mobike carries the same technical characteristics of his patent. He requested the court to order the company to stop manufacturing shared bikes with the system, destroy all locks on its bicycles and pay compensation of 500,000 yuan ($75,000).

Mobike's attorney, She, said the first step of the unlocking process is when a user scans a QR code on a bike with a smartphone and an unlock request is sent to the cloud server.

"The request includes the user's data and the information about this specific bike. After receiving the request, the cloud server will first check if the user is qualified. The process will stop for any user with a substandard credit record or who doesn't have enough money in the prepaid account," She said.

The cloud server, having found the user qualified to ride the bike, will send a signal to the lock controller on the bike, which will then check if the bike is in good enough condition to be used, said She, from Shanghai Fangda Law Firm.

"Bikes that are reported by users to have broken down will not be unlocked," he said.

A verdict is pending.

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