On October 19, 2021, Disney launched its controversial new ride reservation system — Disney Genie+ — at Walt Disney World Resort. A couple of months later, Genie+ launched at Disneyland Resort. Disney Genie+ replaced the free FastPass system that had been an integral part of Disney vacations for years. The move to get rid of FastPass was not a popular one, as many people didn’t like Disney Parks getting more expensive and then losing perks that made the cost worth it.
Disney Genie+ is a paid system, but it is a part of the larger Disney Genie service, which allows Guests to access complimentary features, so they can plan their day. Guests can put in their ride and attraction preferences, and Disney Genie tells them when it may be best to visit the attraction to minimize their wait.
Now, Disney is being accused of stealing the technology used for its theme park Disney Genie system.
According to a report from the Orlando Business Journal, the tech company Agile Journeys claimed that they created the Disney Genie system back in 2002 and called it “Method and Apparatus for Providing Visitors with a Personalized Itinerary and Managed Access to Attractions.” The company filed a patent for the tech and claims that Disney is infringing on its patent with the Disney Genie system. The company also says that Disney was aware of the technology Agile Journeys had created.
Agile Journeys filed a lawsuit against Disney, which reads in part:
“Disney has infringed and continues to infringe (literally and/or under the doctrine of equivalents), directly, indirectly, and/or through subsidiaries, agents, representatives or intermediaries, one or more claims of the [patent] by making, using, testing, supplying, causing to be supplied, selling and/or offering for sale in the United States the Disney Genie system, including the Disney Genie App…
Notwithstanding Disney’s knowledge of [Agile’s patent], Disney has knowingly or with reckless disregard willfully infringed the [patent]. Disney has acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of the [patent]. The objective risk that Disney infringed the [patent] was known or so obvious that it should have been known to Disney.”
Agile Journeys also states that one of the creators of the system — William Gibbens Redmann — was in contact with Disney about the possibility of The Walt Disney Company purchasing the system to use in the theme parks. However, instead of purchasing the method created by Redmann and Michael Anthony Eaton, Disney tried to create and patent a similar system. The lawsuit states that Disney’s attempts at securing its own patent were rejected, and the tech created by Redmann and Eaton was frequently cited.
The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and for a jury to award Agile Journeys for Disney’s infringement on “one or more claims of the patent”, a judgment in favor of Agile Journey for “enhanced damages” for the infringement, and for Disney to pay Agile Journeys royalties to continue to be able to use the technology.
Disney has not responded to the lawsuit.