Clean Tech in Court: Green Patent Complaint Update

Several new green patent complaints were filed in January and February, with one lawsuit relating to green fitness equipment, one relating to energy storage, and the rest involving LED technology.


Energy Storage

Eco-Stim Energy Solutions Inc. v. McIntyre et al.

This lawsuit was filed February 27, 2018 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

Eco-Stim asserted U.S. Patent No. 8,679,668, entitled “Industrial apparatus for the large-scale storage of electric energy” and directed to an industrial apparatus for the large-scale storage of energy and a process for storing and transporting electric energy wherein an alkali metal, in particular sodium, and sulfur are provided in containers connected by means of an electrolyte E and represent a cell.


Green Fitness Equipment

Green Fitness Equipment Company, LLC v. Precor Inc. et al.

Green Fitness Equipment Company sued Precor February 7, 2018 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,884,553 (‘553 Patent).

The ‘553 Patent is entitled “Current monitor for indicating condition of attached electrical apparatus” and directed to a current monitor is described that indicates a condition of attached electrical equipment.

The current monitor can determine a predetermined range in which current being withdrawn by the attached electrical apparatus lies. Based on the determined range, corresponding display electronic elements, such as light emitting diodes (LEDs), can be activated.



Unity Opto Technology Co., Ltd. v. Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC et al.

This lawsuit was filed January 12, 2018 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Unity Opto Technology alleges that the Utilitech 2×2 LED Panel Light Model No. SL4K22 infringes four of its patents relating to flat panel LED technology:

U.S. Patent No. 9,423,113, entitled “Flat panel lighting device and driving circuitry”

U.S. Patent No. 9,335,036, entitled “Flat panel lighting device and driving circuitry”

U.S. Patent No. 9,523,487, entitled “Flat panel lighting device and driving circuitry”

U.S. Patent No. 9,447,954, entitled “Light fixture having a central wire-way”


Technical LED Intellectual Property, LLC v. Schultze Imports, LLC

Technical LED Intellectual Property, LLC v. Westwingx LLC

Both of these lawsuits assert U.S. Patent No. RE41,685, entitled “Light source with non-white and phosphor-based white LED devices and LCD assembly” (‘685 Patent).

The’ 685 Patent is directed to a light source incorporating phosphor-based white and non-white LEDs, which may be raised off the floor of the optical cavity to permit light to be emitted from the base of the LED.  A reflective protrusion may be placed beneath the raised LED to aid in redirecting light forward, and the LEDs may be skewed in relation to adjacent LEDs to reduce interference.

The accused products are Schultze’s Bluetooth Bulb and Gen 3 Triangle WiFi Bulb and Westwingx Flux Smart Lighting products.

Both actions were filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, the complaint against Schultze (Technical LED IP v. Schultze Imports LLC) on February 6, 2018 and the complaint against Westwingx (Technical LED Intellectual Property LLC v. Westwingx LLC) February 23, 2018.


RetroLED Components, LLC v. Principal Light Group, LLC

RetroLED sued Principal Light Group (PLC) seeking a declaratory judgment that PLC’s U.S. Patent No. 9,311,835 (‘835 Patent) is invalid not infringed by RetroLED’s end cap products.

The’ 835 Patent is entitled “Lighting mount for interior-lighted signage and method of retrofitting a lighted sign” and directed to a lamp support assembly, retrofit kit, and method are provided for lighting a sign from an interior thereof.  The assembly can be used as a drop-in replacement for high-voltage gas-discharge tube lamps such as high-output fluorescent lamps, and may be used to retrofit signs originally built for gas-discharge tube lamps with low-voltage, high-efficiency lighting such as LED lighting.

The complaint was filed February 23, 2018 in federal court in Waco, Texas.


Philips Lighting North America Corp. et al. v. Howard Industries, Inc.

In a lawsuit filed January 23, 2018 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Philips asserted five patents related to LED drivers

the patents-in-suit are:

U.S. Patent No. 7,262,559, entitled “LEDs driver”

U.S. Patent No. 6,577,512, entitled “Power supply for LEDs”

U.S. Patent No. 6,586,890, entitled “LED driver circuit with PWM output”

U.S. Patent No. 8,063,577, entitled “Method and a driver circuit for LED operation”

U.S. Patent No. 6,250,774, entitled “Luminaire”

The complaint lists the accused products as Howard’s High-bay Linear LED series lighting fixtures.


Nichia Corporation v. Feit Electric Company, Inc.

Nichia sued Feit Electric alleging infringement of three patents entitled “Light emitting device, resin package, resin-molded body, and methods for manufacturing light-emitting device, resin package and resin-molded body.”

Filed February 20, 2018 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the complaint lists the Feit 800 Lumen 3000K Dimmable LED and the Utilitech Pro 9-Watt G25 Warm White LED Light Bulb as accused products.

The asserted patents are U.S. Patent Nos. 8,530,250, 9,490,411 and 9,537,071.

The patents are directed to an LED manufacturing method in which a resin part and a lead are formed in a substantially same plane in an outer side surface, including sandwiching a lead frame provided with a notch part, transfer-molding a thermosetting resin containing a light reflecting material in a mold to form a resin-molded body in the lead frame, and cutting the resin-molded body and the lead frame along the notch part.

The light emitting device has a resin package which provides an optical reflectivity equal to or more than 70% at a wavelength between 350 nm and 800 nm after thermal curing, and in which a resin part and a lead are formed in a substantially same plane in an outer side surface.


Lemaire Illumincation Technologies, LLC v. HTC Corporation

This lawsuit was filed January 23, 2018 in federal court in Marshall, Texas.

The complaint asserts three patents:  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 the HTC One M8 smartphone, the HTC One M9 smartphone, the HTC 10 smartphone, the HTC Desire Eye smartphone, and the HTC Ultra smartphone.

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.