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Liberties taken with product: Progressive


Progressive Corp. is a bit offended by Liberty Mutual Group's in-car monitoring system to help determine auto insurance rates based on the mileage driven in the vehicle.

The Mayfield Village, Ohio-based company has filed a lawsuit against Liberty Mutual in an Ohio federal court claiming Liberty Mutual copied its idea on using the in-car monitoring system. Progressive claims Liberty Mutual's products—OnBoard Advisor and Rewind—are copyright infringements on Progressive's MyRate program, which received a patent in 2000.

Progressive introduced the first in-car monitoring system in 1999. The program offers drivers a wireless monitoring device that charts distance, how quickly the driver accelerates, brake usage, and time of day they travel.

The driver's insurance rate for the month is determined based on the information gathered by the vehicle's on-board diagnostic system, which is evaluated by Progressive.

“Our extensive research, development and investment in usage-based insurance dates back to the mid-1990s,” a spokeswoman for Progressive said in a statement. “We filed this suit to protect intellectual property rights we have spent more than 15 years investing and developing.”

Progressive alleges in the lawsuit that Boston-based Liberty Mutual's programs “include each and every feature” of its patented service.

Liberty Mutual would not comment on the matter.