Uber Shows Taxis Never Same As Smartphones Roil U.S. Industry
The Uber Technologies Inc. application and logo are displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5s and iPad Air in this arranged photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Bloomberg/Getty Images

Uber Is Trying to Patent Its Surge Pricing Technology

Dec 19, 2014

The fast-growing ride-sharing service Uber wants to patent a pricing technology that has come under fire from critics who accuse the company of price gouging.

The technology, which Uber calls “surge pricing,” is among at least 13 patent applications the company has filed with the U.S. patent office, which typically become public 18 months after filing, Bloomberg reports. So far, most of the applications have been initially rejected for "obviousness" or because they were otherwise ineligible, but there's been no decision yet on the surge pricing technology.

Read more: This is how Uber's surge pricing works

The company, which was founded in San Francisco in 2009 and has already expanded to more than 50 countries, has defended the practice, which adjusts prices in real time based on the amount of demand in the area.

But Uber, already under pressure in jurisdictions around the world over regulatory and safety concerns, drew renewed criticism when the service raised prices in Sydney earlier this week as users were trying to leave the area around a hostage crisis.

See Uber Protests From Around the World

French Taxi drivers burn tires as they protest in the southern city of Marseille on June 25, 2015 as they demonstrate against UberPOP, a popular taxi app that is facing fierce opposition from traditional cabs.
French Taxi drivers burn tires as they protest in the southern city of Marseille on June 25, 2015 as they demonstrate against UberPOP, a popular taxi app that is facing fierce opposition from traditional cabs.Anne-Christine Poujoulat—AFP/Getty Images
French Taxi drivers burn tires as they protest in the southern city of Marseille on June 25, 2015 as they demonstrate against UberPOP, a popular taxi app that is facing fierce opposition from traditional cabs.
French taxi drivers protest Uber
Hundreds of taxi drivers gather next to the Olympia Stadium to protest ride-sharing apps on June 11, 2014 in Berlin.
A demonstrator kicks a car, suspected of being a private taxi during a 24 hour taxi strike and protest in Madrid on June 11, 2014.
A taxi driver listens to speeches by his colleagues, during an Europe-wide protest of licensed taxi drivers against taxi hailing apps that are feared to flush unregulated private drivers into the market, in front of the Olympic stadium in Berlin on June 11, 2014.
Taxi drivers hold a banner during a protest in Barcelona on June 11, 2014.
London taxi's line up on The Mall during a protest against a new smart phone app, 'Uber' on June 11, 2014 in London.
Taxi drivers park their cars and honk the horn in protest on Pennsylvania Avenue, bringing street traffic to a stop as they demand an end to ride sharing services such as Uber X and Lyft on June 25, 2014, in Washington.
An Italian taxi driver distributes leaflets reading "Don't take an illegal taxi, take a white regular taxi" during a protest on June 11, 2014 in Rome.
Taxis drivers block a highway outside Paris, near Roissy on June 11, 2014, as they take part in a demonstration to protest the growing number of minicabs, known in France as Voitures de Tourisme avec Chauffeurs (VTC).
French Taxi drivers burn tires as they protest in the southern city of Marseille on June 25, 2015 as they demonstrate ag
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Anne-Christine Poujoulat—AFP/Getty Images
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[Bloomberg]

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