Category Archives: General

GE and Vestas Settle Patent Dispute

  • GE and Vestas announced yesterday that they have reached a settlement in their long-running patent battle over “Zero Voltage Ride Through” or “ZVRT” technology.
  • The parties are taking actions to dismiss all aspects of the dispute, including a patent infringement lawsuit being heard in federal court and multiple patent validity challenges at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

GE and Vestas have announced “an amicable settlement of all disputes related to multiple patent infringement claims in the U.S.,” bringing to an end their long-running patent battle over “Zero Voltage Ride Through” or “ZVRT” technology. Although details remain confidential, the parties announced that the settlement agreement includes:

  1. A full release of liability for any past infringement of the patents-in-suit;
  2. A cross-license of the patents-in-suit and their family members; and
  3. A confidential payment from Vestas to GE.

Continue reading GE and Vestas Settle Patent Dispute

Thought Leaders in the Energy Industry Stress Need for Innovation

At a panel discussion hosted by Politico and the American Wind Energy Association on May 15, 2019, thought leaders in the energy industry called for innovative solutions to some of the challenges facing America’s energy infrastructure. The panel, entitled “Reinventing American Energy: Modernizing U.S. Power Infrastructure for a Clean Energy Future,” featured U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.); Sue Kelly, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association; and Andrew Ott, President and CEO of the PJM Interconnection. Continue reading Thought Leaders in the Energy Industry Stress Need for Innovation

Federal Court Litigation Between GE and Vestas Likely to Remain Stayed; Parties Continue to Battle at Patent Board

  • The patent infringement lawsuit being heard in federal court in Delaware between General Electric and Vestas Wind Systems A/S appears likely to remain on hold through late 2019 or early 2020.
  • GE and Vestas remain locked in a long-running patent battle over “Zero Voltage Ride Through” or “ZVRT” technology. Each party has brought challenges against the validity of the other party’s patents to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which is expected to hear those challenges over roughly the next 12 months.

The patent infringement case between rival wind turbine manufacturers GE and Vestas appears likely to remain on hold at least through late 2019 as the parties continue to battle over the validity of the asserted patents in separate cases before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. GE and Vestas jointly filed a pair of status reports last month with the federal court in Delaware that is hearing the case, updating the court on the progress of those separate cases at the Patent Board. The court had earlier stayed the federal court litigation while awaiting decisions from the Patent Board on the validity of the GE and Vestas patents involved in the case. Continue reading Federal Court Litigation Between GE and Vestas Likely to Remain Stayed; Parties Continue to Battle at Patent Board

Federal Circuit: Four ChargePoint Patents Assserted Against SemaConnect Are Invalid

  • The Federal Circuit upheld an earlier decision by a federal court in Maryland that found four ChargePoint patents to be invalid for claiming inventions that are not eligible for patent protection.
  • The Federal Circuit decision is a victory for electric vehicle charging station manufacturer SemaConnect, who was sued for allegedly infringing the four ChargePoint patents in December 2017.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled last Thursday that four patents owned by ChargePoint, Inc., are invalid. The patents are directed to a networked electric vehicle charging station (EVCS) and were previously held invalid by a federal court in Maryland for claiming inventions that are ineligible for patent protection. ChargePoint had appealed that holding to the Federal Circuit. Continue reading Federal Circuit: Four ChargePoint Patents Assserted Against SemaConnect Are Invalid

Pair of LA-Based Solar Installers Head to Court for Patent Fight

  • Solar installation rivals PermaCity and Orion Solar Racking are headed to federal court in California for a dispute over PermaCity’s patented roof mounting technology and an alleged breach of a non-disclosure agreement.

PermaCity Corporation, a solar installation company based on Los Angeles, has sued rival Orion Solar Racking Inc. in federal court in California for alleged patent infringement and breach of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). PermaCity manufactures and sells a roof-mounting product called SolarStrap, which is marketed as a faster and less expensive way to install solar panels. Continue reading Pair of LA-Based Solar Installers Head to Court for Patent Fight

Continuing Coverage of GE v. Vestas: Wind Turbine Patent Litigation

From July 2017 to June 2019, the two leading wind turbine providers in the United States – General Electric and Vestas, reportedly controlling more than 80% of the U.S. wind turbine market – engaged in a patent fight over who controls key technology for connecting turbines to the grid. The fight spanned four asserted patents (two owned by GE and two by Vestas) and a pair of venues (federal court in California and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Continue reading Continuing Coverage of GE v. Vestas: Wind Turbine Patent Litigation

The Coming EV Revolution

This post was co-authored by Brad Thompson and Nicole Candelori.

“Disruption” is a term that tends to be used casually when attempting to describe an industry or technological change on the horizon. Although the term may be overused in many contexts, it is hard to formulate a better word to describe the looming disruption that is certain to emanate from the increased adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

There are numerous projections as to the anticipated volume and rate of movement away from internal combustion engines (ICEs) and towards EVs. According to one of those projections – a 2018 Bloomberg New Energy Finance report – global EV sales are expected to increase almost tenfold in just eight years: from 1.1 million in 2017 to 11 million in 2025, and later to 30 million in 2030. [1] Regardless of whether this forecast proves to be accurate on the timeline predicted, one trend line is undeniable: EVs are coming, and at some point relatively soon, the ICE will soon become a dying breed of vehicle transportation on the road. Continue reading The Coming EV Revolution

Federal Circuit to Decide Validity of ChargePoint Patents

  • Oral arguments were heard last Thursday at the Federal Circuit for a patent dispute between electric vehicle charging station rivals ChargePoint, Inc. and SemaConnect, Inc.
  • The Federal Circuit is reviewing an earlier decision by a federal court in Maryland that found four ChargePoint patents to be invalid for claiming inventions that are not eligible for patent protection.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is poised to decide the validity of four key ChargePoint, Inc., patents after hearing oral arguments last Thursday. The patents at issue are directed to a networked electric vehicle charging station (EVCS) and were previously held invalid by a federal court in Maryland for claiming inventions that are ineligible for patent protection. ChargePoint appealed that holding to the Federal Circuit. Continue reading Federal Circuit to Decide Validity of ChargePoint Patents

Vestas Challenge to Invalidate GE Wind Tech Patent is Denied

  • The Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied a challenge brought by Vestas Wind Systems A/S against a General Electric patent directed to technology for connecting wind turbines to the electric grid.
  • GE and Vestas remain locked in a long-running patent battle over “Zero Voltage Ride Through” or “ZVRT” technology. Each party has brought challenges against the validity of the other party’s patents to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which is expected to hear those challenges over roughly the next 12 months.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied a challenge brought by Vestas Wind Systems A/S in the year-long patent feud with General Electric.  The Board, an adjudicatory body within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, determined that the challenge brought by Vestas against GE’s U.S. Patent No. 6,921,985 was nearly identical to an earlier challenge heard by the Patent Office.  Since re-hearing similar challenges is considered an inefficient use of the limited resources of the Patent Office, the Board decided to deny the Vestas challenge. Continue reading Vestas Challenge to Invalidate GE Wind Tech Patent is Denied

A Closer Look at Tesla’s Open-Source Patent Pledge

In 2014, Elon Musk announced that he was “open-sourcing” Tesla’s patents.  He argued that doing so would allow the electric vehicle market to grow more rapidly.  While Musk’s original announcement was short on details, the company has since provided additional information regarding the use of Tesla’s patents in its Patent Pledge.  Echoing language from Musk’s announcement, the Patent Pledge states that Tesla “will not initiate a lawsuit against any party for infringing a Tesla Patent through activity relating to electric vehicles or related equipment for so long as such party is acting in good faith.”

The Patent Pledge provides a potential path for companies to use the technology covered by Tesla’s patent portfolio.  Tesla is the assignee of over 350 U.S. utility and design patents covering a broad range of technology, from thermal management systems to door handles.  However, companies considering whether to use Tesla’s patented technology should carefully review several key restrictions found in the Pledge.

Continue reading A Closer Look at Tesla’s Open-Source Patent Pledge