Recent Alerts

Utility Litigation Monthly Watchdog Report

Stay Informed and Alert!

eComp Consultants initiates the distribution of a monthly litigation alert bulletin to utility company executives and legal counsel within the energy sector of the utility industry. The bulletin, entitled Utility Litigation Alert, provides timely information on litigation activity occurring throughout the industry involving intellectual property associated with technology relating to smart grid initiatives and web-based customer interactions. It also serves as early warning as to potential risks of such litigation causing negative impacts to project initiatives.

See our Consulting Service page to learn about eComp’s Risk Assessment service which describes proactive ways to make sure your company is not infringing others’ IP rights, and to potentially avoid a lawsuit.

utility litigation alerts

Web Based Customer Interaction Systems – July 2012

Unified Messaging Solutions accuses Ameren Corporation of infringing patented systems and methods for storing, delivering, and managing messages through operation of its “Billing & Payment History” feature accessible  through its website,   These charges were filed in March, 2012 and were dismissed, following three months of disclosures by both parties.  There will be no further status reports on this case.

Infringement actions brought by Unified Messaging Solutions against 16 of the 28 defendants, including all 5 utility companies, as reported in our February 2012 bulletin, have been terminated.  The 12 remaining defendants consist mainly of communications and social media companies who have been accused of infringing one or more claims of several patents involving web-based messaging, billing, and account servicing activity, as well as certain email features.  We will continue to report status on this case in future bulletins, as appropriate.

Smart Grid Technology – July 2012

More “smart metering” patent infringement allegations filed against utility companies – the saga continues…

As more utility companies forge ahead with implementation of smart grid initiatives, more cases are filed against them with allegations of “willful, deliberate & intentional use” of products and systems that infringe upon one or more claims of patents that were duly and legally issued to their owners.

In our prior bulletin, we highlighted a case filed by TransData, Inc against Centerpoint Energy Houston Electric, and three other Texas-based utilities involving specific metering equipment supplied by Itron, General Electric, and Landis+Gyr. We have since learned that similar cases were also filed against other utility companies, including San Diego G&E, Wisconsin P&L, Georgia Power, Oklahoma G&E, Alabama Power, Mississippi Power, and Oncor Electric Distribution Company. Read the rest of this entry »

Smart Grid Technology – February 2012

eComp Consultants provides this Utility Litigation Alert for the purpose of keeping utility companies informed of the growing amount of litigation activity that has been emerging pursuant to the evolution and steady increase of smart grid/smart technology initiatives being undertaken within the Utility Industry.  Much of this increased smart grid project activity was prompted by the distribution of stimulus funding to utility companies through the Federal Government’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The accused products and solutions have targeted major application areas that support utility operations, such as:

  • Wireless communication networks for providing remote monitoring of devices
  • Systems & methods for monitoring and controlling remote devices
  • Wireless communication enabled meters & networks
  • Computer-assisted energy management sales systems for utilities Read the rest of this entry »

Web Based Customer Interaction Systems – February 2012

For more than two years now, patent infringement lawsuits have been filed against utility companies, product vendors and service providers who are involved with smart grid project initiatives.  More recently, a new area of concern over potential litigation risk has emerged regarding Web Based Customer Interaction Systems and  processes involving the delivery and management of online messages, and that extend beyond routine call tracking activities associated with customer relationship management.

One such case is highlighted below and exemplifies the expanding realm of patent litigation activity that may impact your company’s operations. Read the rest of this entry »