The e-mobility industry is keeping the courts busy. In the US, WiTricity has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Momentum Dynamics. The wireless charging specialist seeks compensation and a halt of sales. MIT is the co-plaintiff.
There are seven patents at the centre of the federal suit related to wireless energy transfer issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office between 2010 and 2017. WiTricity says it owns five patents; in the other two, WiTricity is either the licensee or the exclusive licensee of patents owned by MIT or Auckland UniServices, another plaintiff.
The three companies filed the complaint earlier this December but claimed Momentum Dynamics knew of some of the patent infringements since 2015. They now seek an injunction to halt the sales of Momentum Dynamics products that infringe such patents, and financial damages.
The complaint as seen by Biz Jounals claims that Momentum Dynamics via its website “commercializes the accused technology by offering the technology for sale and development throughout the United States.”
Momentum Dynamics has indeed installed or offered wireless charging systems on various public bus networks in America, including on Martha’s Vineyard. The company also has reportedly been working to integrate the system with BYD e-buses and in cooperation with local authorities.
The company and most plaintiffs have yet to comment. Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity, said in a statement that the company would “protect and defend” its IP against any unauthorised use. He also pointed out that WiTricity was “proud to see our technology being commercialised by our licensees.”
Among the more recent licenses handed out is Delta Electronics, that will adapt the technology for use in industrial applications. In the automotive industry, WiTricity has partnered with Hyundai’s Genesis brand. A collaboration with General Motors was launched in 2016 and with Nissan in 2017. In February 2019, the charging specialist acquired the Halo technology platform and various patents in the field of contactless power transmission from Qualcomm. At the same time, WiTricity has yet to deliver a large scale product.
The connection to the MIT comes through Physics Professor Marin Soljačić. He co-founded WiTricity in 2017 and helped develop the electromagnetic resonance technology that allows electric power to be transferred wirelessly. The company’s system is known as “highly resonant wireless power transfer” and WiTricity controls over 1,000 issued patents worldwide.
With the current lawsuit against Momentum Dynamics, Witricity joins a range of rivals suing each other in the US. The most recent filing regards Karma vs Lordstown which preceded the almost classic Tesla vs Rivian row. LG Chem and SK Innovation have also been seen battling it out far from home.
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