Protect British Innovation and WeQ4U
Protect British Innovation and WeQ4U
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Latest: June 8, 2021
Queue-it finally submits defence to court
On the last possible day, Queue-it has filed their defence, which in our opinion consists of a simple set of denials with no actual content. They are also trying to countersue us because they a…Read more
What's going on?
The makers of WeQ4U are suing Queue-it for patent infringement in the High Court. WeQ4U emerged from the same patent. We need your help to pursue justice and keep WeQ4U free. We have been forced to bring legal action to secure what is rightfully ours after all our attempts to settle the matter amicably were rejected. They have known about our patent since at least 2013. We've funded this action ourselves up until this point but are going up against a well-connected company funded by The State of Denmark and need your support. According to their website they have worked our invention a staggering 20 billion times. We would be extremely grateful if you could contribute now and share this page with your friends, family and on social media, and especially if you could use the links below to Tweet.
Our position is difficult. By abusing our intellectual property Queue-it has already assumed a market leadership position. We are having to discount our prices very heavily to win business away from them - with some notable successes - but raising the very large sums of money needed to achieve justice through the High Court by new sales alone is a tough ask. We do have cash reserves from our successful telephony business, but without your help now we will have to choose between justice and continuing to offer WeQ4U for free. If that happens then it won't just be us that's affected, but the millions of people who have installed WeQ4U and depend on WeQ4U to reach call centres each and every day, across the UK.
What's your story?
In 2004 our founder Matt King was trying to buy tickets for the Glastonbury Festival. That night there were over 400,000 people all trying to buy tickets online at the same time and their servers fell over.
"We were stuck all night hitting refresh, refresh, refresh to try to get through - it made the national news. I thought to myself there's got to be a better way of doing this. At about 2am I had my lightbulb moment for a queue page that would hold all the traffic away from the commerce servers and feed the buyers back at a constant rate, first come first served. I also realised that the same process when applied to phone calls would mean that people wouldn't have to wait on hold any more, and covered that in the same patent." - Matt King, WeQ4U, OrderlyQ and Queue-Fair creator, speaking on behalf of The Fair Queue People Ltd.
Our web-based system was successfully deployed for The Glade festival the following year, who became the fastest-selling festival in UK history with our help, but we struggled to get traction with the ticketing industry and though we continued to offer the online queue system on our websites, we focused on the phone product which was selling well. Later, we realised that we could put the same technology that lets people get through to call centres without waiting on hold in the hands of consumers and that was how WeQ4U was born. The WeQ4U app has around 2 million UK downloads; as well as avoiding queues it saves around 45p per minute on 08 phone calls, and consequently WeQ4U is relied upon by many of the most disadvantaged in society. We're very proud to have been of benefit to the UK as a whole. WeQ4U has a 4.9 out of 5 star rating on Google Play, App Store and Trustpilot. WeQ4U won the prestigious Real Business Future 50 People's Champion Award and won support from The British Library too, as well as appearing on Dragon's Den last year.
We successfully launched the company with seed funding from NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
"I was told that some business schools encourage MBA students in need of a business idea to look through patents to find ideas to commercialise"
What happened next?
In 2010 the three founders of Queue-it were at Copenhagen Business School doing their MBA programme. According to the About page on their website they started as a team in need of an idea. We don't know for sure that they found our patent at that time, but we can't explain the overwhelming similarity between their system in use and our original patent any other way. Their website and code contain specific terminology from our patent that is not used by other virtual waiting room providers. If you compare the operation of their system with our patent you'll see it's not just step by step, it's word for word - as you can see for yourself in this video:
Shortly after starting their company the founders of Queue-it filed a patent application of their own that was rejected as not novel and lacking inventive step over our patent. It's clear they were looking for ways in which our patent could be worked around - but the patent examiner was quite rightly having none of it, and our patent was the only one discussed in the examiner's comments when rejecting their patent application. We understand that this is the strongest indication of infringement that can possibly be given.
So since at least 2013 when their application was rejected because of our patent, they knew.
How did this happen?
In 2010 market conditions had changed - more sales had moved online thanks to the iPhone and sudden traffic surges had become more frequent due to social media sites like twitter. Neither the iPhone nor twitter existed when Matt had his original idea. Queue-it also got their first customer contracts from the Danish government, which helped them establish credibility in the market early on.
Now Queue-it has 100 staff in three countries, and claims to have over 750 customers. Queue-it is in use or has been used by a host of british institutions and large organisations, including the Royal Opera House, the English National Opera, Aldi, Morrisons, Boots, B & Q, Harvey Nichols, The Old Vic, The London Transport Museum, The Science Museum, The Victoria & Albert Museum, Ticketmaster, The Barbican, Glyndebourne, NHS Blood, Alton Towers, The Football Association, The Rugby Football Union, The London Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Mint - the list goes on and on (please click on a link above to Tweet them about this). We know these names either from being told directly by their end customers, by finding Queue-it code on their customers' web pages, or from Queue-it's published customer list from their website - which they took down when we issued our press release regarding legal action in January. A lot of these institutions you would think have a duty to support British innovation. We don't expect Queue-it told any of them about our patent. On the contrary, their CEO Nils Henrik Sodemann falsely claims to have a fully granted patent on his LinkedIn page as you can see here, when in fact their patent application was rejected and abandoned back in 2013.
The patent number DK 35094 that you can see above is not the number of their rejected patent application. DK 35094 is a real, fully granted patent - but it's a patent for processing coal tar that was granted in 1925, before Nils was even born! We think to list this number is misleading and dishonest, perhaps even fraud, especially to continue to do so many years after the patent application had been rejected and abandoned. In UK law it is an offence to claim to have a patent application after it has been abandoned, and also an offence to claim to have a patent that one does not actually have. We don't know how many of their customers were taken in by this apparent lie.
In fact we can find no record of Queue-it holding any patent, anywhere in the world.
According to their website they have worked our invention over 20 billion times. If you think of patent infringement as intellectual property theft - the taking of what is not freely given - as we do, that would make Matt the most stolen from person in the history of people, in terms of sheer numbers of thefts, so far as we are aware. They also claim on their website to be the "first virtual waiting room on the market", and "the original virtual waiting room" however that of course is also simply not true, and they know it's not true.
You can see our virtual waiting room solution at Queue-Fair.com. We recently queued over 25,000 people for a happy customer and the queue worked perfectly - indeed if you check on our website you'll find out that our system works better than theirs, according to their own data. That's because we invented it. Our system is also more efficient, making it greener technology too. If you are a Queue-it customer looking to switch we offer a 25% discount on any competitor quote and will be very happy to talk to you.
How do you feel about all this?
"Well it's devastating of course. The minute I saw their system I recognised my invention, and the more I looked into it the more horrified I became. What sort of person unfairly sells another person's sense of fairness? Hires a team of 100 people to do that? Ropes in some of the world's most reputable organisations like this? Encourages other companies to produce their own versions too, as they have done on LinkedIn? I can't see how anyone with any sense of honour can have anything to do with them - as customers, employees or resellers. One of my friends said they are going to hell for what they have done."
Could Queue-it make this right?
Queue-it have profited heavily from COVID-19, and according to a recent interview with their CCO they have had their best ever year. Queue-it is majority owned by equity fund GRO Capital, who have hundreds of millions of euros. They in turn are owned by pension funds and the State of Denmark.
Queue-it could put this right by buying the system or patent from us, by taking appropriate licensing, by settling this dispute or by any number of means. We have certainly given them ample opportunity to do so, but there has been no willingness to engage - quite the reverse. Obviously if one is accused of patent infringement, and one doesn't infringe, one explains how what one is doing is different from the patent, but they haven't done that either. This has left us with no choice but to serve them with infringement claims in the High Court. They have also done everything they can to avoid filing a defence against our claim. They are behaving exactly as a group of people who stole someone else's idea and then lied about it for 10 years could be expected to behave in our view.
What will your donation mean to us?
A donation from you will help uphold the rights of British innovators by pursuing this flagrant abuse of British intellectual property. Upholding patents is important. Patents are the only means by which innovators can be sure their inventions are protected. Without a strong patent system, and the respect of that system by all players within society, there is no incentive for innovators to invent; why bother, when one's invention can just be stolen anyway? Think of all the wonderful things that innovation has given us - patents protect medication, all kinds of technology, mobile phones and even the light bulb. Help support the intellectual property framework that drives improvement in all our lives. Help ensure that inventors have the right to profit from their inventions. Help us make the world a fairer place.
What else can I do?
If you are a customer of any of the organisations listed above, you can write to them to tell them what you think about their use of our patented process. That would help us a lot - especially if you cc firstname.lastname@example.org when you send your email, or better yet send them a tweet (just click on the customer name below). If you are a journalist or know someone who is a journalist then please also draw attention to this campaign; what they've done is scandalous in our view. Please share this page on social media. If you can afford even just a few pounds, your donation will help protect British innovation, pursue justice and keep WeQ4U free.
Small Print: All statements on this page are made by and the opinion of The Fair Queue People Ltd. All references to "infringement" refer to the Process claims of our granted patent(s). This page should not be construed as a threat to sue any party other than Queue-it, who we are suing.
Here's a list of known UK Queue-it customers so you can write to them and tell them what you think about all this - or better yet, click on a customer name to tweet them - really as many as you can.
Ticketmaster, Boots, Ocado, Morrisons, Aldi, Sony, Currys, Southbank Centre, T-Mobile UK, Wickes, Debenhams, Cineworld UK, Northumbria University, The Football Association, Suttons Seeds, B & Q, Travis Perkins, Lush, NHS Blood, Harvey Nichols, Skipton Building Society, Victoria & Albert Museum, Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Science Museum London, Merlin Entertainments, Missguided, National Savings and Investments, Museum of Science and Industry, Brewdog, Orange UK, Alton Towers, The Royal Mint, National Theatre, The Old Vic, PC World, The Lowry, Brighton FC, Derby County FC, London Symphony Orchestra, London Transport Museum, West Bromwich Albion FC, Chesterfield FC, English National Opera, Dixons Carphone plc, Barbican Centre, ACC Liverpool, Young Vic Theatre, Bristol Sport, Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust Limited, Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG London) Ltd,
Black Country Living Museum Trust, De Vere Venues Ltd, Encore Tickets Ltd., Enta Ticketing Solutions, Event Genius Ltd., Forestry Commission England, FR Systems Ltd, Gooutdoors, In the Night Garden Live, Magnetic North Theatre Productions Ltd, , NEC Limited, RCL Cruises Ltd, Shetland Folk Festival Society, Theatre Royal Trust Ltd., Ticket Arena, Tickets.com, Tresor Paris (UK) Plc, Wales Millennium Centre
We know of many hundreds of international customers too. If your organisation is listed above and you are no longer a Queue-it customer or user please let us know at queue-fair.com
WeQ4U and The Fair Queue People Ltd.
June 8, 2021
Queue-it finally submits defence to court
On the last possible day, Queue-it has filed their defence, which in our opinion consists of a simple set of denials with no actual content. They are also trying to countersue us because they are interpreting our messaging as a threat to sue their customers. For the avoidance of doubt, it is Queue-it that we are going after and are already suing, not threatening to sue. We see their customers as victims of Queue-it's marketing practices, which in our opinion are clearly deceptive, and we are not in the habit of suing victims. No statement on this page or any other should be construed as a threat to sue any party other than Queue-it, who we are suing.
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