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Energy & Sustainability IP Updates — August 2022

In the courts, Tigo Energy – a power optimizer manufacturer headquartered in Campbell, California – filed suit earlier this month against SMA Solar Technology America LLC in the District of Delaware, alleging that SMA and its suppliers copied Tigo’s product line of module-level shutdown units and are selling products that infringe six patents owned by Tigo. In its pleading, Tigo claims that SMA copied its product line to compete in the business of offering for sale, selling, and distributing products designed to enable photovoltaic systems to comply with the rapid shutdown requirements of National Electric Code § 690.12. SMA indicates on its website that its power solutions couple a proprietary ShadeFix technology with a SunSpec-certified shutdown device to produce more power. SunSpec certification concerns a body of standards for enabling solar PV and energy storage systems to interoperate transparently with system components, software applications, financial systems, and the smart grid. See https://sunspec.org/certification/. The litigation is in its early stages, and we’ll continue to track its progress and report on significant developments.

At the US Patent and Trademark Office, the Office announced on July 21 its commitment to become a technology partner to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (“WIPO”) sustainability wing, called WIPO GREEN. In doing so, the Patent Office joins ten (10) other IP offices from around the globe. The USPTO’s contributions to WIPO GREEN include its own initiatives designed to address the challenge of climate change, including:

In US patent news, Meta Materials Inc. – a developer of high-performance functional materials and nanocomposites – announced on July 18 that it was issued two new patents on its nanoporous lithium-ion battery technology. US Patent No. 11,387,521 issued from the Patent Office on July 12, 2022 and is directed to an advanced nanoporous separator for lithium-ion batteries, which according to Meta, “has far superior safety properties such as better heat conductivity and non-shrinkage compared to conventional separators currently used in lithium-ion batteries.” US Patent No. 11,387,523 issued on July 12, 2022, and is directed to a new generation lithium-ion battery in which the cathode is directly coated onto the separator. Meta claims that this “technology reduces the complexity and expense of the equipment used to fabricate the battery, for flat and prismatic batteries that can be used, for example, in electric vehicles.” See https://metamaterial.com/meta-materials-granted-two-new-u-s-patents-for-next-generation-battery-separators/.

©1994-2022 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 221
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About this Author

Brad Scheller Patent Litigation Attorney Mintz Law Firm
Member

Brad Scheller is a trial attorney who focuses his patent litigation practice on representing clients in the automotive devices, thermoplastics, electronic components and consumer products industries in federal district court, before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and at the International Trade Commission. With a background in mechanical engineering and over 14 years of experience practicing law, Brad has successfully represented patent owners in enforcing their rights against infringers and protecting those rights from challenges of invalidity, and has also successfully defended and...

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