Valence Scores Victory in European Battery Patent Appeal

March 26th, 2012 by David Gibbs* Leave a reply »

Valence Technology is an Austin, Texas, company that develops and manufactures long-life lithium iron magnesium phosphate batteries. 

Valence recently won a victory in the European Patent Office (EPO) Opposition Board when the Board dismissed an appeal of a decision revoking a European patent held by rival Hydro-Quebec (HQ).

The EPO initially granted European Patent Number 0904607, entitled “Cathode materials for secondary (rechargeable) lithium batteries” (’607 Patent) to the University of Texas; the patent is now owned by HQ. 

Valence challenged the patent grant in an opposition proceeding filed in 2005.  The EPO Opposition Board revoked the grant in December 2008 because the patent lacked novelty (EPO_Revocation).  HQ appealed that decision. 

Last month the EPO Opposition Board dismissed HQ’s appeal, resulting in cancellation of the patent.

The ’607 Patent is a European relative of U.S. Patents Nos. 5,910,382, 6,514,6407,955,733, 7,960,058 and 7,964,308, entitled “Cathode materials for secondary (rechargeable) lithium batteries” (Cathode Materials Patents).

The Cathode Materials Patents relate to host materials for use as electrodes in lithium ion batteries.  In particular, the patents are directed to a synthesized cathode material containing a compound with an olivine structure comprising the general formula LiMPO4 where M is iron, manganese, nickel or titanium.

According to the Cathode Materials Patents, these cathode materials provide a larger free volume for lithium ion motion that allows higher conductivity and therefore greater power densities.

Valence and HQ are not strangers to litigation involving the Cathode Materials Patents.  Read previous posts here and here about those cases, which the parties settled as part of a cross-licensing deal in October of last year.

David Gibbs is a contributor to Green Patent Blog.  David is currently in his third and final year at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.  He received his undergraduate degree in Geology from the University of California, Berkeley.

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