“Personality Files” Provide Adaptive Interfaces for Energy Efficiency

BPL Global, a smart grid software and technology company, has bolstered its energy distribution intelligence services by acquiring Connected Energy and its energy demand management platform.  Connected Energy owns patent-pending web-based software called COMSYS, which provides a virtual, real-time control center for management of remote energy resources.  The COMSYS system can be used with any type of energy production facility, including wind farms, solar arrays, diesel generators and turbine generators.  The system allows monitoring and control of these facilities to improve their efficiency.

The COMSYS system is the subject of two related patent applications, U.S. Application Pub. No. 2007/0208434 (‘434 Application) and U.S. Application Pub. No. 2003/0109942 (‘942 Application).   The applications disclose an interface apparatus that is standardized to be manufactured relatively cheaply on a large scale yet versatile enough to work with a wide variety of industrial equipment.  The interface apparatus can connect machines having different data format and storage configurations and different electrical interface characteristics.  This versatility is achieved through the apparatus’s “personality files,” data files that configure an electrical interface and a programmable data translator according to the particular machine to which the apparatus is connected. 

The personality files are the customization engine of COMSYS.  They contain human readable text of a set of data definitions (e.g., network communications port settings, data point monitoring parameters and user interface screens) that respond to and match the parameters of the particular industrial machine the user needs to monitor and control.  The electrical interface can be manufactured to configure to a particular industrial machine, or the interface device can hold a variety of personality files and the configuration can take place in the field.

The ‘434 Application is a continuation of the ‘942 Application (see my previous post on continuation applications), which was filed back in 2001.  Connected Energy fought a long battle with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) over the ‘942 Application, including filing an appeal with the PTO Appeals Board.  Its persistence paid off:  a patent has been granted and will issue this Tuesday, March 18th.  The ‘434 Application also seems likely to result in an issued patent:  it claims a narrower invention than the ‘942 Application. 

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Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.