Clean Tech in Court: Green Patent Complaint Update

There were several new green patent lawsuits filed in November and December in the areas of eco-friendly pet products, electric vehicle charging, LEDs, smart grid, and solar mounting systems.


Green Pet Products

The Green Pet Shop Enterprises, LLC v. PetEdge, Inc.

This lawsuit involves pet pad technology that cools your pets without water or electricity.  The complaint was filed December 29, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The asserted patents are U.S. Patent Nos. 8,720,218 and 9,226,474, both entitled “Pressure activated recharging cooling platform” and directed to a cooling platform comprising a temperature regulation layer, a support layer, and a channeled covering layer.

The temperature regulation layer is adapted to hold a composition and has a plurality of angled segments, wherein angled segments within a sealed perimeter of the temperature regulation layer are formed by a top side and a bottom side at a predefined distance, and channels, wherein the channels substantially form sides by contacting the top side with the bottom side at a distance lesser than the predefined distance.

The complaint alleges that the defendant’s Slumber Pet Cool Pup Pad infringes the two patents.


EV Charging

ChargePoint, Inc. v. SemaConnect

ChargePoint sued SemaConnect alleging infringement of four electric vehicle charging patents.

The asserted patents are:

U.S. Patent No. 7,956,570, entitled “Network-controlled charging system for electric vehicles”

U.S. Patent No. 8,138,715, entitled “Network-controlled charging system for electric vehicles through use of a remote server”

U.S. Patent No. 8,432,131, entitled “Network-controlled charging system for electric vehicles”

U.S. Patent No. 8,450,967, entitled “Network-controlled charging system for electric vehicles”

The accused products are SemaConnect’s Charge Prop community electric vehicle charging stations.

The complaint was filed December 15, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.



ETi Solid State Lighting, Inc. v. Satco Products, Inc.

ETi accused Satco of infringing two patents relating to flush mount LED lighting products for use with screw-in incandescent bulb sockets.

The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 9,500,352 and 9,541,270, both of which are titled “Integral LED light fixture” and directed to an integral LED light fixture for installation in an incandescent light bulb socket including a housing with a forwardly-extending portion and peripheral outer walls defining a recess, a rearwardly-extending socket base to be screwed into an incandescent light bulb socket, electrical components including a printed circuit board having a set of LEDs, and a lens for covering the printed circuit board and being attached to the housing.

Filed November 15, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the complaint lists as accused products include Satco-Nuvo screw-on utility fixtures.

Lemaire Illumination Technologies, LLC v. Microsoft Corporation et al.

In this complaint, filed November 7, 2017 in federal court in Marshall, Texas, Lemaire has asserted three LED patents against Microsoft.

The asserted patents are U.S. Patent Nos. 6,095,661 (‘661 Patent), 6,488,390 (‘390 Patent) and 9,119,266 (‘266 Patent).

The ‘661 Patent is entitled “Method and apparatus for an L.E.D. flashlight” and the ‘390 Patent is entitled “Color-adjusted camera light and method” and these related patents are directed to an LED flashlight including  a control circuit for maintaining a predetermined light output level of the LED units as a charge on a battery varies.

The ‘266 Patent is entitled “Pulsed L.E.D. illumination apparatus and method” and directed to an illumination source for a camera including one or more LEDs and a control circuit for driving the LEDs with electrical pulses at a frequency high enough that light produced has an appearance to a human user of being continuous rather than pulsed.

The accused products are Microsoft Lumia 950 XL and Lumia 950 Single SIM smartphones.


Cree, Inc. v. Milwaukee Wholesale LLC et al.

Cree sued Milwaukee Wholesale December 28, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

The complaint alleges that the defendants are selling knock-offs of Cree’s CPY 250 Canopy/Soffit luminaire.

The knock-offs allegedly infringe two design patents:  D721,844 and D743,084, each titled “Light fixture.” and infringe trade dress of Cree’s products.


General LED OpCo, LLC v. Pincipal LED, LLC

This lawsuit asserts U.S. Patent No., 9,702,531, entitled “Retrofit system and method for replacing linear fluorescent lamp with LED modules” (‘531 Patent).

Filed December 20, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, the complaint alleges that Defendant’s Tap Out, Slim Stik, and Street Stik linear fluorescent lighting products.

The ‘531 Patent is directed to a system for replacing linear fluorescent lamps with LED modules in a cabinet sign including an LED module support structure.  The LED module support structure may be attached to the raceways of the cabinet sign or to the sockets formerly used for mounting fluorescent lamps between the raceways.


Bluestone Innovations, LLC v. General Electric Company

Bluestone Innovations, LLC v. Cree, Inc.

Bluestone Innovations, LLC v., Inc.

In each of these lawsuits, Bluestone alleges infringement of  U.S. Patent No. 6,163,557 (‘557 Patent).

The ‘557 Patent is entitled “Fabrication of group III-V nitrides on mesas” and directed to group III-V nitride films fabricated on mesas patterned either on substrates such as sapphire substrates or on group III-V nitride layers grown on substrates. The mesas provide reduced area surfaces for epitaxially growing group III-V nitride films to reduce thermal film stresses in the films to minimize cracking.

All the lawsuits were filed in federal court in San Francisco, the complaint against Amazon (Bluestone Innovations LLC v. AMAZON.COM,INC.) on November 30, 2017 and the complaints against GE (Bluestone Innovations LLC v. General Electric Company) and Cree (Bluestone Innovations LLC v. Cree, Inc.) on December 4, 2017.

The complaints list as accused products various brands and models of LED lightbulbs with epitaxial film.


Smart Grid

Banertek LLC v. ecobee, Inc.

This lawsuit was filed November 17, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Banertek alleges that ecobee infringes U.S. Patent No. 6,839,731, entitled “System and method for providing data communication in a device network” (‘731 Patent).

The ‘731 Patent is directed to a system and method for facilitating data communications in a device network.  The system and method includes premises-server computing devices, a central communication device, and a number of client computing devices. Each client computing device communicates with the central communication device to request access to device data from the premises-server computing devices. Once access rights are established, the client computing devices communicate directly with specific premises-server computing devices.

According to the complaint, ecobee provides systems with premises server computing devices in communication with devices such as room sensors, HVAC fans, etc., a central communication device such as the ecobee server, and a client computing device.

Solar Mounting Systems

Rillito River Solar LLC v. IronRidge Inc.

Rillito River Solar LLC v. Wencon Development Inc.

The IronRidge complaint, filed December 6, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, alleges infringement of two solar mounting system patents.

U.S. Patent Nos. 9,774,292 and 9,793,853 are entitled “Roofing grommet forming a seal between a roof-mounted structure and a roof” and directed to a roof mount assembly including a piece of flashing positioned on the substrate.  The flashing includes a first surface, a second surface opposite the first surface and an aperture extending through the flashing.  A fastener extends through the flashing aperture, a bracket is connected to the flashing via the fastener, and a water-tight seal is positioned between the flashing aperture and the fastener.

The accused product is IronRidge’s FlashFoot 2 mounting system.

The Wencon complaint was filed November 22, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Northern Distric of California and asserts infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,526,701 (‘701 Patent).

Entitled “Roof mount,” the ‘701 Patent is directed to a roof mount including a base member, an attachment mount, and a spacer extending the base member to a roof surface. The base member has a protrusion, and the attachment mount defines a hollowed region for receiving the protrusion to form a compression fitting.  A substantially leak proof assembly is formed when the attachment mount is placed against the base member with a sealing material therebetween.

Eric Lane Avatar

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.