eSolar is a Burbank, California, solar thermal company that makes solar power plants using flat mirrors, or heliostats, to concentrate sunlight onto a centrally located water tank suspended on a tower. This type of structure is known as “power tower” architecture.
The company owns U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3,828,737 for the ESOLAR word mark for, inter alia, ”power plants” in Class 11, “capturing and conversion of solar energy into electricity and steam” and “generation and production of energy” in Class 40, and power plant design, development and consulting services and power plant engineering services in Class 42 (’737 Registration).
Last month eSolar sued eSolar Exchange, an online marketplace for renewable energy projects, for trademark infringement. According to the eSolar Complaint, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, eSolar Exchange’s use of the ESOLAR mark in its domain name and on its web site in connection with services directly related to solar and renewable energy infringes the ’737 Registration.
eSolar alleges that the defendant’s use of a lower-case “e” is a compelling indicator of infringement:
Defendant’s use of the ESOLAR Mark with a lower-case “e” in connection with the capitalized word “Solar” is virtually identical to the manner in which eSolar uses the ESOLAR Mark, further demonstrating Defendant’s infringing conduct.
Founded in 2007, eSolar has seen much success in business deals to implement and deploy its technology. A major one, which was at the time the biggest solar thermal deal ever, is a master licensing agreement with Chinese electrical power equipment manufacturer Penglai Electric (Penglai).
Obviously that success has made eSolar a valuable green brand and one worth protecting.
Eric Lane is a patent attorney at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in San Diego and the author of Green Patent Blog. Mr. Lane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org