Clean Tech in Court: Green Patent Complaint Update

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Several new green patent complaints have been filed recently in the areas of biofuels, smart grid, LEDs, solar manufacturing materials, and waste water treatment. Here’s a run down:

Biofuels

Butamax Advanced Biofuels v. Gevo

The complaint (Butamax-Gevo_DJComplaint) was filed August 9, 2011 in the District of Delaware.

Butamax, a joint venture between BP and DuPont, accuses Gevo of infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,993,889, entitled “Fermentive production of four carbon alcohols,” and directed to methods for producing isobutanol by fermentive growth of a recombinant yeast microorganism.

This is the second patent infringement suit filed by Butamax against Gevo. I covered the first complaint here.

Smart Grid

Nxegen v. Sensus USA

The complaint (Nxegen-Complaint) was filed July 29, 2011 in the District of Connecticut.

Nxegen asserts two related patents against Sensus, U.S. Patents Nos. 6,633,823 and 7,135,956, entitled “System and method for monitoring and controlling energy use” and directed to systems and methods for monitoring and controlling power use among a number of facilities to reduce a real-time aggregate power load across the facilities.

The accused products include the FlexNet Advanced Metering re Infrastructure (AMI) solution.

IP Co. (Intus IQ) v. Ingersoll-Rand et al.

The complaint (Intus-Ingersoll_Complaint) was filed August 25, 2011 in the Eastern District of Texas.

Intus asserts two related patents, U.S. Patents Nos. 6,044,062 and 6,249,516, entitled “Wireless network gateway and method for providing same,” and directed to certain wireless network systems having a server providing a gateway between two networks.

The other named defendants are Schlage Lock Company, Trane and Schneider Electric

Intus is a patent licensing company and appears to b e related to Sipco, which has been a patent enforcement spree, including suits against utilities, smart meter companies, and EV charging companies.

ICH Intellectual Capital Holdings v. Badger Meter et al.

The complaint, filed September 8, 2011 in the Eastern District of Texas, accuses a host of smart meter players of infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,248,181, entitled “Automated meter reading system” and directed to an automated meter reading system adapted to facilitate readings by an operator walking or driving close to the system at a low power level and at a frequency in an unlicensed frequency band.

The other named defendants are Mueller Water Products, Transparent Technologies, Metron-Farnier, Tantalus, ESCO Technologies, Aclara Power-Line Systems, Landis+Gyr, Trilliant, Tropos, and the City of Winnsboro, Texas.

ICH appears to be a non-practicing patentee.

LEDs

SemiLEDS v. Cree

The complaint (SemiLEDS-Complaint) was filed August 15, 2011 in the District of Delaware.

SemiLEDS accuses Cree of infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,615,789, entitled “Vertical light emitting diode device structure” and directed to a vertical light-emitting diode structure utilizing a spacer to separate the p-doped layer from the active layer and U.S. Patent No. 7,646,033, entitled “Systems and methods for producing white-light emitting diodes” and directed to a vertical light-emitting diode structure having a wafer level phosphor layer parallel to a gallium nitride layer.

In the increasingly common tit-for-tat LED patent litigation wars, SemiLEDS fights back here after being sued by Cree in April for alleged infringement of “flip-chip” mounted LEDs.

Waste Management / Water Filtration

Salsnes Filter v. M2 Renewables

The complaint (Salsnes-Complaint) was filed August 18, 2011 in the Central District of California.

Salsnes asserts U.S. Patent No. 6,942,786, entitled “Cleaning device for waste water” and directed to a waste water cleaning device having an endless filtering belt and a blowoff device to remove contamination from the belt.

The named defendants are M2 Renewables and Nepsus Environmental, and the accused devices are the M2 Microscreen and Nepsus CBUM Process at the Adelanto, California waste water treatment plant and the M2 Microscreen at the ProLogis-Fontana, California Kaiser Steel waste water treatment plant.

Solar

du Pont v. Heraeus

The complaint (DuPont-Heraeus_Complaint), filed September 2, 2011 in the District of Delaware, asserts U.S. Patent No. 7,767,254, entitled “Paste for solar cell electrode and solar cell” and directed to a method of making an electrode for a solar cell by applying a conductive paste comprising silver particles.

du Pont alleges that Heraeus’s manufacture and use of its H94XX and H92XX series of pastes infringes the ’254 Patent.

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.

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