LAWRENCEVILLE -- While leaders discussed the details of the controversial HOT lanes along Interstate 85 during a town hall meeting Monday, some residents whispered about a conspiracy that officials are profiting from a patent for the technology.
But those reports are false, officials say.
A patent application listed in the name of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority's Jannine Miller was actually filed on behalf of the state of Georgia, explained Malika Reed Wilkins of the State Road and Tollway Authority.
In fact, the applications were applied to allow the state to continue to use the technology for free, even if private companies later decide to use the concept.
All of the names on the patent application worked at the time for SRTA and Georgia Tech, Wilkins said. Not only is the work product considered a "work made for hire," but the employees assigned all of their rights over to the public agencies, Wilkins said.
She said the patents, if they are issued, will list SRTA and Georgia Tech.
"None of the individuals have nor will they receive any personal financial benefit from the patent," Wilkins wrote in an email. She said the application was filed to keep the technology available at no cost, if other private toll entities decide to use the local concept, which issues gantries to control access and enforce rules instead of physically separating the toll lane.
"Without physical barriers separating the tolled lane from the general purpose lanes, the tolling equipment mounted on the gantries is being used to detect when a vehicle enters or exits the toll lane. This concept is the crux of the patent," Wilkins explained.