Clean Tech in Court: Green Patent Complaint Update


There have been a number of green patent complaints filed recently in such technology areas as compact fluorescent lamps, LEDs, and battery chargers.


Compact Fluorescent Reflector Lamps

In the Matter of: Certain Compact Fluorescent Reflector Lamps and Products and Components Containing Same

On January 28, 2013, Andrzej Bobel and Neptun Light (Complainants) filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) requesting an investigation of Maxlite, Technical Consumer Products, Satco Products, and Litetronics International (Respondents) for the alleged infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,053,540 (‘540 Patent).

The ‘540 Patent is entitled “Energy efficient compact fluorescent reflector lamp” and directed to a reflector lamp which makes use of a fluorescent bulb, rather than an incandescent bulb, to improve the energy efficiency and service life of the bulb and allow for a wider array of color temperatures of emitted light.  The disclosed lamp is “directly compatible with incandescent and halogen PAR lamps” and “used in the same type [of] light fixtures as incandescent” lamps.

Complainants allege that Respondents are engaged in the importation and sale of reflector compact fluorescent lights that infringe the ‘540 Patent.  Complainants are seeking a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order regarding the importation and sale of the infringing products.



Whelen Engineering Co., Inc. v. Able 2 Products Co.

On January 23, 2013, Whelen brought suit against Able in the District of Connecticut for the alleged infringement of its patent and corresponding trademark concerning an LED light display.

The patent at issue, U.S. Patent No. 6,641,284 (‘284 patent), is entitled “LED Light Assembly” and discloses a linear array of LEDs within a linear parabolic reflector that allows for the production of uniform, directional light beams. 

Whelen also asserted U.S. Trademark Registration No. 2,762,987 (listed in the complaint by its application number), for the mark LINEAR-LED, which, according to the complaint, is “used in connection with . . . warning lights and warning light systems.”

Whelen argues that Able is infringing its patent and trademark through the sale of a number of its warning light products.  Whelen seeks damages and destruction of the infringing products.

Last year Whelen sued another LED maker for infringement of the ‘284 Patent, a design patent, and a few of its trademarks. 


Cree, Inc. v. Cooper Lighting, LLC

Cree brought suit against Cooper Lighting (Cooper) on February 19, 2013 for the alleged infringement of two patents relating to an LED apparatus and fixture.  The complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

The patents at issue are U.S. Patent Nos. 8,282,239, entitled “Light-directing apparatus with protected reflector-shield and lighting fixture utilizing same” (‘239 Patent) and 8,070,306, entitled “LED lighting fixture” (‘306 Patent).  Ruud, a subsidiary of Cree, and Cooper are also in litigation surrounding the alleged infringement of a number of Ruud’s patents (see previous posts here and here).

Cree alleges that Cooper’s Ventus LED product infringes the ‘306 Patent and its AccuLED Optics system infringes the ‘239 patent.  According to the complaint, Cooper also offers and sells a number of other infringing products under numerous brands. Cree is seeking a permanent injunction and damages.


Illumination Management Solutions, Inc. v. Ruud Lighting, Inc.

On February 13, 2013, Illumination Management Solutions (IMS) filed suit against Ruud Lighting (Ruud) in federal court in Tyler, Texas for alleged patent infringement and civil conspiracy.

The patent at issue is U.S. Patent No. 7,674, 018 entitled “LED device for wide beam generation.” This LED device produces light in a wide-angle profile which can be used for street lighting purposes.

IMS is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent further infringement, an award of compensatory, exemplary, and treble damages, attorney’s fees, and an order that Ruud “transfer to [IMS] any interest assigned to Ruud Lighting. . . .”


Battery Chargers

VoltStar Technologies, Inc. v. Superior Communications, Inc.

On February 1, 2013, VoltStar filed suit against Superior in the Eastern District of Texas for alleged patent infringement of three of its patents.

The complaint asserts three patents:  U.S. Patent Nos. 7,910,833 and 8,242,359, each entitled “Energy-saving power adapter/charger,” and 7,960,648, entitled “Energy saving cable assemblies.”

According to the complaint, the patents pertain to a battery charger “that automatically shuts off when a device is fully charged or not plugged in, eliminating ‘vampire load.’ This feature reduces power consumption and extends battery life.”

VoltStar is seeking a permanent injunction as well as monetary damages for Superior’s alleged infringement.


*Cliff Brazil is a contributor to the Green Patent Blog.  Cliff is currently in his second year at the University of Kansas School of Law in Lawrence, Kansas.  He received his undergraduate degree in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.

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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.