Green Patent Complaints: January 2012
There have been a few green patent complaints filed in the last several weeks in the areas of LEDs, solar power, and biofuels.
Fiber Optic Designs, Inc. v. Seasons 4, Inc.
Filed December 16, 2011 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Fiber Optic Designs’ (FOD) complaint (FiberOptic_Complaint) alleges that Seasons 4 is infringing two patents directed to light strings containing light emitting diodes.
Zep Solar Inc. v. Westinghouse Solar Inc.
In the latest missive in this growing legal battle, Zep has asserted U.S. Patent No. 7,592,537 (’537 Patent) against Westinghouse (formerly Akeena Solar). The ’537 Patent is entitled “Method and apparatus for mounting photovoltaic modules” and is directed to an interlocking PV module array.
Although the complaint is not publicly available, we have this Filing Report (Zep-Westinghouse_Report) and Westinghouse’s Answer (Westinghouse_Answer) in the case, filed December 20, 2011 in the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.
The accused device is Westinghouse’s Andalay Groove Interlock product, and other named defendants are Andalay Solar, Lightway Green New Energy, Brightway Global, Morrison Supply Company, Sky Solar Solutions, and Alternative Power & Electric.
Gevo, Inc. v. Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC
Another growing patent dispute is the one between Butamax, a BP-DuPont joint venture, and Colorado advanced biofuels startup Gevo (read prior posts about the dispute here and here), which now includes cross claims of patent infringement in multiple forums.
In the latest complaint (Gevo-Butamax_Complaint), filed in the District of Delaware on January 24, 2012, Gevo accuses Butamax of infringing U.S. Patent No. 8,101,808 (’808 Patent) by performing certain isobutanol production processes.
The ’808 Patent, granted on January 24, 2012, is entitled “Recovery of higher alcohols from dilute aqueous solutions” and directed to methods of recovering C3-C6 alcohols from a fermentation broth.
Interestingly, I believe the Gevo-Butamax litigation is the first instance of biofuels patent litigation involving one of the oil majors.
Eric Lane is a patent and trademark attorney at McKenna Long & Aldridge in San Diego, where he is Of Counsel in the Intellectual Property & Technology practice group and the Climate, Energy and Sustainability practice group. Mr. Lane can be reached at (619) 699-2471 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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