Hydro-Quebec Launches Another Patent Lawsuit

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In a previous post, I wrote about patent litigation between Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec (H-Q) and Massachusetts based lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems (A123), in which A123 lost its bid to have its declaratory judgment action litigated in its desired forum of Boston.

Last month, H-Q opened a new front against A123 and also targeted Valence Technology (Valence) and Segway.

Filed in federal court in Dallas, Texas, the complaint (HQ-A123-2d-Amended-Complaint) sticks with the same previously disputed family of patents, alleging infringement of three newly-issued patents in that family – U.S. Patents Nos. 7,955,733, 7,960,058 and 7,964,308, entitled “Cathode materials for secondary (rechargeable) lithium batteries” (Cathode Materials Patents).

H-Q asserts that A123 is infringing the Cathode Materials Patents by selling rechargeable lithium metal phosphate batteries for use in Black & Decker’s DeWalt cordless power tools, and Valence and Segway are infringing by selling Segway Personal Transporters that contain lithium metal phosphate batteries and cathode powder made by Valence.

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.

H-Q is asking the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction and monetary damages.

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.

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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.

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