Tag Archives: patent


Who Owns All the Smart Grid Patents?

Who Owns All the Smart Grid Patents?

Ever wonder who owns all the smart grid patents?  With all of the acquisitions in smart grid (see, e.g.,here and here), it seems a lot of folks have been considering the question. A recent study by patent analytics firm Relecura on smart grid patent holders seeks to answer this question.  It turns out the top five are ABB, GE,


New Energy Patents Increase

A recent study by MIT and Santa Fe Institute (SFI) researchers found a “dramatic growth in innovation” in renewable energy technologies. The scientists based their conclusions on the number of new energy patents issued in the U.S. from 1970 to 2009. The growth is primarily driven by patents that are related to renewable energy. While


New Apple Patent = Solar + Touch

The idea of charging a smartphone with solar energy isn’t new, but Apple plans to take it a step further by building solar charging capability directly into the iPhone. Apple’s patent, which integrates touch sensor and solar assembly, has just been approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The innovative devise, which will be used in future iPhones


In Focus: Apple’s Wind Turbine Patent

In a rare move for Apple, the company filed for a patent for a wind turbine, in 2011. That wind turbine would uniquely generate electricity from stored heat energy, not by rotating blades, which would solve the problem of intermittency. In its filing, Apple notes that current turbines rely on a constant supply of wind because of the way they are


A Proposal for a Global Green Patent Highway

In a number of previous posts (e.g., here, here, here and here), I and others have reported on the accelerated examination programs for green technology patent applications offered by various national patent/IP offices in countries such as the UK, Korea, Brazil and China. My most recent article, published last week in the Fall 2012 Issue of


Natcore: Racking Up NREL Black Silicon Patents

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has expanded the license it gave New Jersey-based Natcore Technology to develop its black silicon. The term “black silicon” refers to the seeming color of the solar cell. The dark color allows the cells to absorb more sunlight and convert more into electricity, increasing the energy output and effective efficiency


Zep Solar and Westinghouse Settle Litigation

Previous posts (here, here and here) discussed the patent litigation between Zep Solar and Westinghouse Solar over solar panel mounting technology.  The contentious dispute involved at least three patents, three forums, two reexaminations, and back and forth cross claims of infringement and invalidity. Recently, Zep and Westinghouse announced that they have reached a comprehensive settlement to end their patent


eSolar eNforces eCo-mark

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”


Green Technology Intellectual Property Summit 2012 Lands in Chicago

The American Conference Institute will hold a Green Technology Intellectual Property Summit in Chicago this summer. Scheduled for June 27-29, 2012, this conference will bring together attorneys, in-house professionals, investors and government officials for two and a half days of discussion on green IP issues. With Michael Wise of Perkins Coie, I will be speaking on international protection


Ferrari’s New Hybrid Technology

Ferrari has filed a patent for hybrid technology, which will use a pair of electric motors and a pack of battery. It was Amedeo Felisa, Ferrari chief, who evoked cynical choler last month after reporting that the company has been working on hybrid technology for its V12 cars. The patented hybrid system will use two


USPTO Throws Out Westinghouse Solar Mounting System Patent on Reexam

Previous posts (here and here) discussed the U.S. International Trade Commission case between solar installation competitors Westinghouse Solar (formerly Akeena Solar) and Zep Solar (Zep) involving two Westinghouse patents, U.S. Patents Nos. 7,406,800 (‘800 Patent) and 7,987,641 (‘641 Patent). Both patents cover what Westinghouse refers to as its “Andalay System,” a solar power system which includes solar panels with integrated racking,