Clean Tech in Court: Green Patent Complaint Update

November 27th, 2017 by Eric Lane No comments »

Several new green patent complaints were filed in September and October in the areas of advanced batteries, green cleaning solvents, and LED lighting.

 

Advanced Batteries

LG Chem, Ltd. et al. v. Amperex Technology Limited

LG Chem filed a lawsuit against Amperex asserting three patents relating to separator technology for advanced batteries.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on October 25, 2017 and lists U.S. Patent Nos. 7,662,517 (‘517 Patent), 7,638,241 (‘241 Patent) and 7,709,152 (‘152 Patent).

The ‘517 Patent is entitled “Organic/inorganic composite microporous membrane and electrochemical device prepared thereby” and directed to an organic/inorganic composite porous separator comprising (a) a polyolefin-based separator substrate; and (b) an active layer formed by coating at least one region selected from the group consisting of a surface of the substrate and a part of pores present in the substrate with a mixture of inorganic particles and a binder polymer.

Entitled “Organic/inorganic composite separator having morphology gradient, manufacturing method thereof and electrochemical device containing the same,” the ‘241 Patent is directed to an organic/inorganic composite separator including: a porous substrate having pores; and a porous active layer containing a mixture of inorganic particles and a binder polymer with which at least one surface of the porous substrate is coated.

The ‘152 Patent is entitled “Organic/inorganic composite separator having porous active coating layer and electrochemical device containing the same” and directed to an organic/inorganic composite separator including (a) a polyolefin porous substrate having pores; and (b) a porous active layer containing a mixture of inorganic particles and a binder polymer.

The accused products include ATL’s 844297, 425882, 346176, 494397 and A1445 battery cells.

 

Green Cleaning Solvents

GreenEarth Cleaning, LLC v. Benito Dry Cleaners LLC

This action for patent infringement, trademark infringement, and breach of contract was filed October 9, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Although the complaint lists nine patents, there is only one count of patent infringement asserting U.S. Patent No. 5,942,007 (‘007 Patent).

The ‘007 Patent is entitled “Dry cleaning method and solvent” and directed to dry cleaning methods comprising the steps of immersing clothes in a dry cleaning fluid including a cyclic siloxane composition, agitating the clothes in the composition, and then removing the cyclic siloxane composition by centrifugal action and air circulation.

According to the Abstract of the ‘007 Patent, the “cyclic-siloxane-based solvent allows the system to result in an environmentally friendly process which is, also, more effective in cleaning fabrics and the like than any known prior system.”

GreenEarth alleges that Benito breached its license agreement with GreenEarth.

 

LED Lighting

Seoul Semiconductor Co. et al. v. Archipelago Lighting, Inc.

On September 15, 2017, Seoul sued Archipelago in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleging infringement of twelve LED and LED lighting patents.

The asserted patents are:

U.S. Patent No. 9,627,435, entitled “Light emitting device”

U.S. Patent No. 9,093,627, entitled “Light emitting diode and method of fabricating the same”

U.S. Patent No. 9,577,157, entitled “Light emitting diode chip having distributed Bragg reflector and method of fabricating the same”

U.S. Patent No. 7,700,960, entitled “Light emitting diode with ITO layer and method for fabricating the same”

U.S. Patent No. 8,168,988, entitled “Light emitting element with a plurality of cells bonded, method of manufacturing the same, and light emitting device using the same”

U.S. Patent No. 8,860,331, entitled “Light emitting device for AC power operation”

U.S. Patent No. 8,829,552, entitled “Light emitting device”

U.S. Patent No. 8,716,946, entitled “Light emitting device for AC power operation”

U.S. Patent No. 9,716,210, entitled “Light emitting diode and method of fabricating the same”

U.S. Patent No. 7,951,626, entitled “Light emitting device and method of manufacturing the same”

U.S. Patent No. 9,450,155, entitled “Light emitting device having wavelength converting layer”

U.S. Patent No. 8,664,638, entitled “Light-emitting diode having an interlayer with high voltage density and method for manufacturing the same

The complaint lists the accused products as Archipelago’s A19F6027-2 and LTCA12C32524K1 bulbs.

Polaris PowerLED Technologies, LLC v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc.

Polaris has asserted U.S. Patent No. 8,223,117 (‘117 Patent) against Samsung, alleging that several Galaxy mobile phones and tablets infringe the patent.

The ‘117 Patent is entitled “Method and apparatus to control display brightness with ambient light correction” and directed to an ambient light sensor which produces a current signal that varies linearly with the level of ambient light.

The current signal is multiplied by a user dimming preference to generate a brightness control signal that automatically compensates for ambient light variations in visual information display systems. The multiplying function provides noticeable user dimming control at relatively high ambient light levels.

The complaint was filed October 27, 2017 in federal court in Marshall, Texas.

Bluestone Innovations, LLC v. Osram Sylvania, Inc.

In this lawsuit, 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.

The complaint was filed October 17, 2017 in federal court in San Francisco and lists as accused products various brands and models of LED lightbulbs with epitaxial film.

 

Epistar Corporation v. All Star Lighting Supplies, Inc.

Epistar sued All Star in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on October 13, 2017.

The complaint asserts infringement of eight patents:

U.S. Patent No. 7,355,208, titled “Nitride-Based Semiconductor Element And Method Of Forming Nitride-Based Semiconductor”

U.S. Patent No. 7,489,068, titled “Light Emitting Device”

U.S. Patent No. 7,560,738, titled “Light-Emitting Diode Array Having An Adhesive Layer”

U.S. Patent No. 8,791,467, titled “Light Emitting Diode And Method Of Making The Same”

U.S. Patent No. 9,065,022, titled, “Light Emitting Apparatus”

U.S. Patent No. 9,257,604, titled “Light-Emitting Device Having A Patterned Surface”

U.S. Patent No. 9,488,321, titled “Illumination Device With Inclined Light Emitting Element Disposed On A Transparent Substrate” and

U.S. Patent No. 9,664,340, titled “Light Emitting Device”

The accused products are All Star’s LED filament bulbs.

 

Blackbird Tech LLC v. Feit Electrical Company, Inc.

Blackbird Tech LLC v. Makita U.S.A., Inc.

Blackbird Tech initiated two new lawsuits September 25 and 28, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The asserted patent in the Feit suit is U.S. Patent No. 7,114,834 (‘834 Patent).  Entitled “LED lighting apparatus,” the ‘834 Patent is directed to a light comprising a housing, a plurality of LED lights coupled in an array inside of the housing, and a reflective protrusion for reflecting light from the LED lights out of the housing.

The LED array receives a consistent flow of DC current that will not result in the LED lights burning out. To prevent the LED array from burning out there is also a current regulator for controlling a current flowing through this LED array.

Blackbird accuses Makita of infringing U.S. Patent No. 9,620,989, entitled “Rechargeable battery accessories” and directed to battery pack accessories including a battery power gauge adapted to be applied to a battery pack, a light adapted to the battery pack such that the battery pack can be used as a flashlight when needed, and a connector that can be used for charging the battery pack or to allow the battery pack to charge a device.

GPB Makes List of Top 75 Business Law Blogs

November 9th, 2017 by Eric Lane No comments »

I’m pleased to announce that Green Patent Blog has been honored as one of the top business law blogs.

Compiled by Feedspot, the Top 75 Business Law Blogs were selected from thousands of IP blogs.  The list reflects rankings based on a number of criteria, including Google reputation and search ranking, social media influence and popularity, quality and consistency of posts, and review by Feedspot’s editorial team.

GPB made the list of 75 top blogs, coming in at #32.

Congratulations to the top five:  Law 4 Small Business, Strictly Business, San Diego Corporate Law, Business Law Post, and The IP Law Blog – Copyright Law.

Thank you Feedspot.  It’s nice to get the recognition, but the real satisfaction of blogging comes when someone tells me my blog has served as a valuable tool for research and publication of new works on clean tech IP, and the real pleasure is in creating and publishing a well-crafted post on an original idea.

Board Rules QLED Trademark Generic for, Well, QLEDs

October 23rd, 2017 by Eric Lane No comments »

Previous posts (e.g., here and here) have discussed trademarks that are “merely descriptive” of the goods or services.  Although the registration process can be an uphill battle, some descriptive marks can be protected.

Generic marks, which refer to the class or category of goods or services, are never protectable.

In November 2014, LG Electronics filed a federal trademark application for the mark QLED.  U.S. Trademark Application No. 86/472,855 listed a variety of goods in Class 9, including mobile phones, software, wearable computers, computer monitors, DVD players, touch panels, LED panels, and LED displays for televisions.

During examination of the application, the Trademark Examining Attorney refused registration on the ground that QLED is generic as an acronym for the generic term “quantum dot light emitting diode.”  LG appealed to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (Board), which affirmed the genericness refusal in a non-precedential opinion.

The test for determining whether a term is generic is its primary significance to the relevant public.

The Board reviewed evidence gathered by the Examining Attorney consisting of several internet excerpts including explanatory text from QLED-Info.com, press releases from various companies, content from product and trade news sites, and articles from science and technology journals.

LG objected that the evidence was from industry publications and press releases and related to as yet unreleased products.  Although the evidence may be “forward-looking,” the Board said, it is nevertheless probative of consumers’ understanding of the term QLED, especially with respect to TVs, smartphones, and other goods in the application:

Obviously, some members of the relevant consuming public would research the types of TVs, smartphones, etc. that currently are available, and the expected next generation of these items, and would encounter materials like those cited above, some of which are consumer-focused….Sony is selling QLED smartphones, and companies such as Samsung, LG Display and QD Visions have been developing products with QLED displays for at least the last six or seven years.

LG also argued that there is no consensus as to the meaning or understanding of QLED and the term “is not a designation for a key aspect for a designation of the goods.”  The Board disagreed:

The bulk of the evidence discussed above uses the terms “quantum dot light emitting diodes” and QLED” interchangeably to refer to a particular type of display technology, and as an alternative to LCD and OLED display technology, for TVs, computer screens, monitors, smartphones, and the other disputed goods, all of which have displays.  The evidence clearly demonstrates that the type of display technology is a key aspect of the disputed goods.

So QLED is generic for several goods relating to LED panels, displays, and related products.  But there was some good news for LG:  it was able to register the QLED trademark for a number of other goods in the application  (see the last page of the decision for the list of protected goods).

Clean Tech in Court: Green Patent Complaint Update

October 6th, 2017 by Eric Lane No comments »

Several new green patent complaints were filed in July and August in the areas of advanced batteries, electrolyzers for sewage treatment, LED lighting, eco-friendly pet products, solar powered trash compactors, and wind turbines.

 

Advanced Batteries

Somaltus LLC v. Universal Power Group

Somaltus LLC v. Tenergy Corporation

Somaltus LLC v. Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.

On July 26, 2017 Somaltus, a non-practicing entity, filed three patent infringement lawsuits against Universal Power Group (Somaltus v. Universal Power Group), Tenergy (Somaltus LLC v. Tenergy Corporation), and Maxim Integrated Products (Somaltus LLC v. Maxim Integrated Products Inc.).  The complaints were filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

Each lawsuit asserts U.S. Patent No. 7,657,386, entitled “Integrated battery service system (‘386 Patent).

The ‘386 Patent is  directed to an integrated battery service system that performs a plurality of services related to a battery, such as battery testing, battery charging, and the like. In addition, the integrated service system provides services to devices/components that are coupled to the battery, such as starters, alternators, etc.

The accused products are Universal Power Group’s 24 v 8 amp Premium Quality Heavy Duty XLR 3-pin off-board Sealed AGM, GEL Universal 24BC8000T-1 battery charger, Tenergy’s T-9688 Universal 4 By NiMh/NiCd Smart Chargers, and Maxim’s Max77301 JEITA-Compliant Li+ Charger with Smart Power Selector.

 

Marine Sewage Treatment

DeNora Water Technologies Texas, LLC v. H2O, Inc.

This lawsuit involves bookcell electrolyzer technology used for oxidizing sewage.

The asserted patent is U.S. Patent No. 6,379,525, entitled “Enhanced electrolyzer” and directed to an electrolyzer including a housing having an inlet and an outlet at a common end.  Within the housing are disposed electrode elements, a passageway that connects the inlet to the outlet, and a divider is disposed in the passageway between the inlet and outlet. The divider causes fluid entering the inlet to flow through one section of the passageway and then through another section of the passageway before exiting through the outlet.

The complaint was filed August 17, 2017 in federal court in Houston, Texas, and lists Defendant’s multi-pass bookcell electrolyzers as the accused products.

 

LEDs

Bitro Group Inc. v. Advanced Lighting Concepts, Inc.

Bitro sued Advanced Lighting Concepts (ALC) August 24, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey asserting infringement of U.S. Patent No. 9,113,558 (‘558 Patent).

The ‘558 Patent is entitled “LED mount bar capable of freely forming curved surfaces thereon” and directed to an LED tape light strip with a structure that allows it to be bent in the direction of its width so it can be used for lighting that must conform to unique shapes.

The accused product listed in Bitro’s complaint is Defendant’s CurrentControl Bendable ZigZag LED Strip Light.

 

Blackbird Tech LLC v. Ontel Products Corporation

Filed August 23, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Blackbird’s complaint alleges that Ontel Products infringes U.S. Patent No. 6,883,927 (‘927 Patent).

Entitled “Frame assembly and light for an electrical wall conduit,” the ‘927 Patent is directed to a frame assembly for covering a wall conduit having a connection to electrical power.  The frame assembly comprises a light powered by an electrical circuit connected to the connection and a frame for housing the light.  The frame has an opening allowing access to the component through the frame, a side and an aperture in the side allowing the light to illuminate a space outside the frame assembly through the aperture.

The accused products are Ontel’s Night Angel electrical wall outlet covers.

 

Document Security Systems, Inc. v. Lite-On, Inc. et al.

Document Security Systems (DSS) filed this lawsuit against Lite-On August 15, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California asserting three LED patents.

The complaint contains a long list of accused products, e.g., many of Lite-On’s PLCC Series LED products, including both single color and multi-color lights.

The asserted patents are:

U.S. Patent No. 6,949,771, entitled “Light source”

U.S. Patent No. 7,524,087, entitled “Optical Device”

U.S. Patent No. 7,256,486, entitled “Packing device for semiconductor die, semiconductor device incorporating same and method of making same”

 

Technical LED Intellectual Property, LLC v. Osram Sylvania Inc.

Technical LED IP sued Osram on August 9, 2017 for alleged infringement of two patents relating to phosphor-based LED lights.  The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

The asserted patents are U.S. Patent Nos. RE41,685 (‘685 Patent) and 6,373,188 (‘188 Patent).

The ‘685 Patent is entitled “Light source with non-white and phosphor-based white LED devices, and LCD assembly” and 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.

Entitled “Efficient solid-state light emitting device with excited phosphors for producing a visible light output,” the ‘188 Patent is directed to a solid-state light emitting device in which phosphors excited by radiation produce visible light.  The efficiency of the device is increased by providing a reflector adjacent to the phosphor layer for reflecting at least some of the radiation that passes through the phosphor back into the phosphor. The reflector may also reflect at least some of the visible light that is emitted by the phosphor toward a designated light output.

The accused products include, among others, Osram’s LEP-2100-840-HD-C,  LEP-2100-930-HD-C, LEP-800-840-HD-C, LEP800-930-HD-C, LED12A19/DIM/F/927, LCW CP7P-KPKR-5R8T, and LE CW E3B-NYPZ-QRRU models.

 

Green Pet Products

The Green Pet Shop Enterprises, LLC v. Unique Petz, Inc.

The Green Pet Shop Enterprises, LLC v. C&A Marketing, Inc.

The Green Pet Shop Enterprises, LLC v. European Home Design, LLC

The Green Pet Shop Enterprises, LLC v. Telebrands Corporation

These lawsuits involve pet pad technology that cools your pets without water or electricity.  These four complaints were filed August 16 and 17, 2017 in federal court in New Jersey and New York (THE GREEN PET SHOP ENTERPRISES, LLC v. C&A MARKETING, INC.; The Green Pet Shop Enterprises, LLC v. European Home Design, LLCTHE GREEN PET SHOP ENTERPRISES, LLC v. TELEBRANDS CORPORATIONThe Green Pet Shop Enterprises, LLC v. Unique Petz, Inc.).

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 complaints allege that the defendants’ respective cooling mat products infringe the two patents.

 

Solar Powered Trash Compactors

BigBelly Solar, Inc. v. Ecube Labs Co.

In this lawsuit filed July 28, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, BigBelly asserts two patents relating to solar powered compaction technology.

U.S. Patent Nos. 7,124,680 and 7,481,159 are related patents, each entitled “Solar powered compaction apparatus” and directed to a trash compactor powered by a photovoltaic cell array.  The compaction feature allows the unit to be emptied less often than a typical trash container.  A removable bin allows easy removal of the compacted trash and can include multiple chambers for different trash types.

BigBelly’s complaint alleges that Ecube’s Clean CUBE product infringes the patents.

Wind Power

General Electric Co. v. Vestas Wind Systems A/S et al.

In this important wind industry lawsuit involving Zero Voltage Ride Through (ZVRT) technology, GE alleges that its Danish competitor, Vestas, infringes U.S. Patent No. 7,629,705 (‘705 Patent).

The ‘705 Patent is entitled “Method and apparatus for operating electrical machines” and directed to methods of facilitating zero voltage ride through so the turbine can remain online during voltage dips down to zero volts.

The complaint was filed July 31, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the District of California and lists the accused products as Vestas’ V90-3.0, V100-2.0, V112-3.0 and V117-3.3 wind turbines.

GE had a big win against Mitsubishi with this patent back in 2012.

Board Rules Wind Turbine Design Cannot Be a Trademark

September 22nd, 2017 by Eric Lane No comments »

In an interesting case at the intersection of patent and trademark law, as well as that of functionality and branding, Change Wind Corporation (Change) has lost its bid to register its turbine design as a federal trademark.

Change filed U.S. Trademark Application No. 86046590 (‘590 Application) in August of 2013 seeking registration of the following design mark for wind turbines and wind-powered electricity generators:

The application described the design as consisting of “four vertically extending turbine blades . . . obliquely curved in a twisting manner” and extending above and blow the “truncated cone” of a tapered “cylindrical base.”

The Trademark Examining Attorney refused registration under Section 2(e)(5) of the Trademark Act, which prohibits registration of a mark that is functional.

Change appealed the refusal of the applied-for design and, in a recent decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (Board) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office affirmed.

Prevailing case law holds that a product design or feature is functional if it is “essential to the use or purpose of the article” or if it “affects the cost or quality of the article.”

There are four categories of evidence the courts use to determine whether a design is functional.  Those include evidence of a utility patent disclosing utilitarian advantages of the design, advertising materials touting the design’s utilitarian advantages, the availability to competitors of functionally equivalent designs, and facts indicating the design results in simpler or cheaper manufacturing.

The most damaging evidence for Change was its U.S. Patent No. 9,103,321 (‘321 Patent), which not only showed the applied-for design in the patent drawings, but also recited features of the design in its claims.  Here’s FIG. 1A (almost identical to the design in the trademark application):

Here’s an excerpt from claim 1 of the ‘321 Patent:

A wind turbine comprising:

a frame structure;

a housing enclosing said frame structure;

a rotary, wing assembly supported by said frame structure, said rotary wing assembly including rotating eccentric cams and including asymmetric, helical swept wings that rotate to capture wind throughout a circumference of the rotary wing assembly from both windward and leeward sides so that a torque input spreads evenly to mitigate damaging harmonic pulsations that would otherwise arise without the torque input spreading evenly;

It clearly recites the curved blades / helical swept wings and their function.  Thus, the Board found that the ‘321 Patent showed that the applied-for design features are functional:

The patent thus plainly discloses the functional role of the three components disclosed and claimed in Applicant’s drawing of the mark: the conical tower, the helical wings, and the boundary fences affixed to the helical wings. These features are necessary elements of the invention and are essential to the functioning of Applicant’s wind turbine.

The Board went on to find the evidence of record on advertising to be inconclusive, and also found that the design alternatives were “merely variations of a single basic” turbine design.

The Board found that the evidence, viewed as a whole, establishes that the design was functional because it was essential to the use or purpose of the product.

One lesson is to choose either the patent or trademark route for a technological design and go with it; often it’s not feasible to do both.

August 18th, 2017 by Eric Lane No comments »

Green Patent Blog is on vacation.

 See you in the Fall.

Clean Tech in Court: Green Patent Complaint Update

August 1st, 2017 by Eric Lane No comments »

Several new green patent complaints were filed in May and June in the areas of advanced batteries, electroluminescence lighting technology, green cleaning solvents, and LEDs.

 

Advanced Batteries

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. et al. v. Chervon (HK) Ltd.

In this lawsuit Milwaukee Electric asserted infringement of three patents relating to lithium-ion battery powered cordless power tools.

The patents-in-suit are:

U.S. Patent No. 7,554,290, entitled “Lithium-based battery pack for a hand-held power tool”

U.S. Patent No. 7,944,173, entitled “Lithium-based battery pack for a high current draw, hand held power tool”

U.S. Patent No. 7,999,510, entitled “Lithium-based battery pack for a high current draw, hand held power tool”

The complaint was filed May 5, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  The accused products are Chervon’s Kobalt, Masterforce, Performax, and Craftsman branded tools.

 

Electroluminescence Lighting Technology

Shenzhen EL Lighting Technology Co. v. Midwest Trading Group, Inc.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on May 5, 2017, Shenzhen’s complaint accuses Midwest Trading Group of infringing U.S. Patent No. 6,960,725 (‘725 Patent).

The ‘725 Patent is entitled “Electroluminescence (EL) tube and wire and manufacturing method” and directed to an electroluminescent wire core having a flexible central electrode, a luminescent layer and a transparent, conductive layer.  An outer surface of the central electrode is coated with the luminescent layer and the transparent, conductive layer, and the luminescent power is covered by thermoplastic macromolecular polymer and synthetic resin.

The accused products are the PowerXcel LIGHT-UP cables.

Green Cleaning Solvents

GreenEarth Cleaning, LLC v. Cameron Park Fresh Cleaners, Inc.

GreenEarth Cleaning, LLC v. Walrus Cleaners, Inc.

These actions for patent infringement, trademark infringement, and breach of contract were filed June 23 and June 26, 2017, respectively, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Although the complaints (GreenEarth Cleaning, L.L.C. v. Cameron Park Fresh Cleaners, Inc.GreenEarth Cleaning, L.L.C. v. Walrus Cleaners, Inc.)list nine patents, there is only one count of patent infringement asserting U.S. Patent No. 5,942,007 (‘007 Patent).

The ‘007 Patent is entitled “Dry cleaning method and solvent” and directed to dry cleaning methods comprising the steps of immersing clothes in a dry cleaning fluid including a cyclic siloxane composition, agitating the clothes in the composition, and then removing the cyclic siloxane composition by centrifugal action and air circulation.

According to the Abstract of the ‘007 Patent, the “cyclic-siloxane-based solvent allows the system to result in an environmentally friendly process which is, also, more effective in cleaning fabrics and the like than any known prior system.”

GreenEarth alleges that both defendants breached their respective license agreements with GreenEarth.

 

LEDs

Lighting Science Group Corporation v. Leedarson Lighting Co. et al.

Lighting Science Group sued Leedarson May 9, 2017 in federal court in Orlando for infringement of three patents: U.S. Patent No. 8,201,968 (‘968 Patent), U.S. Patent No. 8,967,844 (‘844 Patent), and U.S. Patent No. 8,672,518 (‘518 Patent).

Entitled “Low profile light,” the ’968 Patent is directed to a luminaire including a heat spreader and a heat sink disposed outboard of the heat spreader, an outer optic securely retained relative to the heat spreader and/or the heat sink, and an LED light source.  The ‘518 Patent and the’ 844 Patent are entitled “Low profile light and accessory kit for the same” and relate to LSG’s disc light LED devices.

The complaint alleges that defendant’s downlight luminaires, including the DL-N19A9ER1-27 and DL-N19A11FR1-27 families of products, infringe the asserted patents.

Nitride Semiconductors Co. v. Rayvio Corporation

In this lawsuit involving UV LED technology, Nitride accuses Rayvio of infringing U.S. Patent No. 6,861,270, entitled “Method for manufacturing gallium nitride compound semiconductor and light emitting element” (‘270 Patent).

The ‘270 Patent is directed to a method for manufacturing a GaN compound semiconductor which can improve light emitting efficiency even when dislocations are present. An n type AlGaN layer, a undoped AlGaN layer, and a p type AlGaN layer are laminated on a substrate to obtain a double hetero structure. When the undoped AlGaN layer is formed, droplets of Ga or Al are formed on the n type AlGaN layer.

The compositional ratio of Ga and Al in the undoped AlGaN layer varies due to the presence of the droplets, creating a spatial fluctuation in the band gap. Because of the spatial fluctuation in the band gap, the percentage of luminous recombinations of electrons and holes is increased.

The complaint was filed May 23, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  The accused products include Rayvio’s SB4 LED.

Document Security Systems, Inc. v. Cree, Inc.

Document Security Systems, Inc. v. Everlight Electronics Co. et al.

Document Security Systems (DSS) filed two lawsuits June 8, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California asserting several LED patents.

The complaint against Cree (Document Security Systems, Inc. v. Cree, Inc.) lists as accused products, e.g., some of Cree’s XLamp ML products, CLM Series products, CLP Series products, and XLamp XB-D Family LED products.

The complaint against Everlight (Document Security Systems, Inc. v. Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd. et al) lists the PLCC Top View SMD LED, the 2214 package series, the 3020 package series, and several other products.

The combination of asserted patents varies by suit but comprise the following:

U.S. Patent No. 6,949,771, entitled “Light source”

U.S. Patent No. 7,256,486, entitled “Packing device for semiconductor die, semiconductor device incorporating same and method of making same”

U.S. Patent No. 7,279,355, entitled “Method for fabricating a packing device for semiconductor die and semiconductor device incorporating same”

U.S. Patent No. 7,524,087, entitled “Optional Device”

U.S. Patent No. 7,919,787, entitled “Semiconductor device with a light emitting semiconductor die”

 

Everlight Electronics Co. v. Bridgelux, Inc.

On the enforcement side, Everlight sued Bridgelux for patent infringement June 10, 2017 in federal court in San Francisco.

U.S. Patent Nos. 6,335,548 and 7,253,448 entitled “Semiconductor radiation emitter package” and directed to a semiconductor optical radiation package including a leadframe, a semiconductor optical radiation emitter, and an encapsulant.  The leadframe has a heat extraction member, which supports the semiconductor optical emitter and provides one or more thermal paths for removing heat.  The encapsulant covers and protects the emitter and optional wire bonds from damage and allows radiation to be emitted.

The complaint alleges that Bridgelux’s 2835 LED products infringe the patents.

 

Nanolumens Acquisition Inc. et al. v. Gable Signs & Graphics, Inc.

Nanolumens Acquisition Inc. et al. v. InfiLED USA, LLC

Nanolumens Acquisition Inc. et al. v. PixelFlex LLC

Nanolumens filed at least three infringement suits in June, each asserting three flexible LED display patents.

The patents are U.S. Patent No. 8,963,895, entitled “Ubiquitously mountable image display system,” relating to a ubiquitously mountable image display systems; U.S. Patent No. 9,159,707, entitled “Flexible display,” relating to a flexible display.  U.S. Patent No. 9,640,516, entitled Flexible display apparatus and method”,” relating to a flexible display apparatus and methods.

The complaint against Gable was filed June 9, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland; the complaint against InfiLED was filed June 9, 2017 in federal court in Atlanta; the complaint against Pixelflex was filed June 12, 2009 in federal court in Nashville.

Celgard Urges Supremes to Condemn Judgments Without Opinions

July 13th, 2017 by Eric Lane No comments »

Previous posts (e.g., herehere and here) discussed the patent enforcement activity of Celgard, a North Carolina company that manufactures specialty membranes and separators for lithium ion batteries.

In these lawsuits, Celgard has asserted U.S. Patent No. 6,432,586 (’586 Patent).  The ’586 Patent is entitled “Separator for a high energy rechargeable lithium battery” and directed to a separator including a ceramic composite layer and a polyolefinic microporous layer.  The ceramic layer has a matrix material and is adapted to block dendrite growth and prevent electronic shorting.

A bunch of competitors challenged the ‘586 Patent in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  After the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the USPTO found claims 1-11 of the ‘586 patent invalid as obvious in the proceedings brought by LG Chem, Celgard appealed.

In a one-line per curiam order handed down in December last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB decision.  The Federal Circuit denied Celgard’s subsequent petition for rehearing en banc.

Celgard has now appealed the case to the Supreme Court.  In its petition for certiorari, the company asks the Supremes to consider four questions.

First, are IPR proceedings unconstitutional?:

Whether inter partes review – an adversarial process used by the the Patent and Trademark Office (“Patent Office”) to analyze the validity of existing patents – violates the Constitution by extinguishing private property rights through a non-Article III forum without a jury?

Second, are the Federal Circuit’s judgments without opinions improper?:

Whether the Federal Circuit’s issuance of Rule 36 judgments without opinions for the disposition of appeals from the Patent Office violates 35 U.S.C. § 144’s requirement that the Federal Circuit “shall issue” its “mandate and opinion” for such appeals?

Third, and related to the second question, do the Federal Circuit’s judgments without opinions violate the principles of justice?:

Whether the Federal Circuit’s pervasive practice of issuing Rule 36 judgments without opinions to affirm more than 50% of appeals from the Patent Office has exceeded the bounds of reasonableness and is inconsistent with “principles of right and justice”?

Fourth, Celgard challenges the PTAB’s obviousness ruling:

Whether the Patent Office’s consistent practice of failing to consider the claimed invention “as a whole” and failing to consider whether the combination of elements would lead to “anticipated success” in an obviousness determination conflicts with 35 U.S.C. § 103 and this Court’s precedent in KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398, 421 (2007)?

For more on the importance of the issues raised in this advanced battery case, see Patently-O’s post here.

For my part, I probably too frequently judge without opining.  Perhaps there’s a broader lesson for all of us here…

Economic Eco-marks: Certifying Green Bonds

June 29th, 2017 by Eric Lane No comments »

Green bonds are important because public initiatives such as the UN’s Green Climate Fund can provide only a small portion of the financing needed for climate-related projects.

Issued by municipalities and development banks, these bonds tie the proceeds of bond issues to environmentally friendly investments.

But which projects count as green, and how can investors be sure the investments are legitimate?

A recent article in the Economist about standards for green bonds notes that one option is a second opinion from an environmental consultancy or auditor like KPMG.

Certification is another option.  Here’s where eco-marks com in.  The Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) offers certification of green bonds.

CBI owns certification mark Registration No. 4,682,352 (‘352 Registration) for CLIMATE BOND CERTIFIED (see the mark above) for:

Analyzing, evaluating and inspecting environmental projects associated with the issuance of financial bonds by governments and corporations to raise finance for investment in emission reduction, climate change adaptation or other climate change related solutions

The certification statement in the ‘352 Registration says the following:

The certification mark, as intended to be used by authorized persons, is intended to certify that a climate bond issuer had obtained full certification by the Climate Bond Standards Body following successful completion of a Climate Bonds Registration Application and having provided evidence that a full verification had been conducted by a Climate Bonds approved verification body.

According to the Economist piece, CBI estimates that 85% of green bonds issued in 2017 have undergone an external review.

Certification marks, and the processes that underlie them, perform critical verification functions and, in this case, reduce greenwashing.

Certification marks differ from ordinary trademarks and service marks in that, instead of indicating the commercial source of a product or service, they communicate that goods or services meet certain quality or manufacturing standards.  They are owned not by the individual businesses, but by the organizations that set the standards.

For further discussion of certification marks see my previous posts herehere, and here.

GPB Makes List of Top 100 IP Blogs, Coming in at No. 62 With a Bullet

June 15th, 2017 by Eric Lane No comments »

I’m very pleased to share that Green Patent Blog has been selected as one of the Top 100 Intellectual Property Blogs.

Compiled by Feedspot, the Top 100 were selected from thousands of IP blogs.  The list reflects rankings based on a number of criteria, including Google reputation and search ranking, social media influence and popularity, quality and consistency of posts, and review by Feedspot’s editorial team.

GPB came in at No. 62.  The perennial upper echelon of IP blogs includes IP Watchdog, Patently-O, IP Newsflash, and Law360’s Intellectual Property Blog.  Kudos to those champions!

Thanks to Feedspot for this honor.  It’s nice to get the recognition, but the true privilege of blogging comes when someone tells me my blog has served as a valuable tool for research and publication of new works on clean tech IP, and the real satisfaction is that of creating and publishing a well-crafted post on an original idea.