In Smart Meter Patent Suit TransData Focuses Antennae on Texas Utility

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TransData is a Texas company that designs and manufactures smart meters and related products.

TransData owns U.S. Patents Nos. 6,181,294 (’294 Patent), 6,462,713 (’713 Patent) and 6,903,699 (’699 Patent), which relate to antenna and wireless communication devices for use with electric meters.

Last month TransData sued CoServ, a Texas utility, for infringement of the ’294, ’713 and ’699 Patents. According to the complaint (TransData-Complaint), filed in federal court in Tyler, Texas, CoServ is infringing these patents by using and selling the Landis+Gyr Focus AX electric meter.

The ’294, ’713 and ’699 Patents are related patents which trace back to an original 1998 filing date. They describe early solutions for wireless transmission of electrical consumption data.

In particular, the patents are directed to electric meters (100) and an antenna (170, 270) for use with the electric meters. The antenna includes antenna elements (172, 174, 272, 274) located within a dielectric housing (120, 220) and a balance circuit (176, 276).

The balance circuit (176, 276) mechanically supports the antenna elements (172, 174, 272, 274) so the antenna elements can cooperate and act as a dipole.

According to the patents’ specification:

The present invention . . . introduces the broad concept of outfitting an electric meter with an internal, wireless communications antenna, allowing the electric meter circuitry within the meter to communicate via a data network wirelessly couplable thereto.

Like the seminal variable speed wind turbine patent involved in the recent GE-Mitsubishi litigation, the patents in this suit are an example of mature clean technologies in the courtroom.

Eric Lane is a patent attorney at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps in San Diego and the author of Green Patent Blog. Mr. Lane can be reached at elane@luce.com.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.