TransData Files Patent Infringement Lawsuits Against GE, Itron and Landis+Gyr for Smart Meters

By Ken Briodagh September 16, 2015

The Smart Home industry might be in danger.

TransData is a developer and manufacturer of digital electricity meters and other energy measurement products and, on September 16, the company announced that it has filed patent infringement lawsuits against GE, Itron and Landis+Gyr AG (60 percent owned by Toshiba) in United States District Court in Texas. The suit alleges that the three companies are willfully infringing on  the company’s U.S. Patent Nos. 6,181,294; 6,462,713 and 6,903,699 for Smart Meters by making, using, selling, and offering for sale their Smart Meters in the U.S., or importing into the country digital meters equipped with internal wireless communication circuits and antennae.

TransData's Smart Meter patents were issued for development of the first digital electric meter to be equipped with an internal "under-glass" wireless communication circuit and antenna. Current licensees of the patents include Sensus USA, Sensus Metering, Southern Company, Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Mississippi Power, Gulf Power, M2M Technologies and Telensa Ltd, according to a release.

There are ongoing suits over the same patents against several electric utilities, including Oncor Electric Delivery, CenterPoint Energy, Texas-New Mexico Power Co., Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, CoServ Electric, Denton Municipal Electric, and Tri-County Electric Cooperative. These suits were filed 5 years ago.

Image via Shutterstock

There have been 13 validity challenges made against the patents, four by Itron and nine by GE. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has confirmed the validity of TransData's patents thus far.

These lawsuits could have major implications, if it goes against the defendants. In the previous suits, yet to be decided, the defendants were all utilities simply using alleged patented hardware. Now, TransData is going after the manufacturers. A loss for GE and the rest could make Smart Meters more expensive for consumers, even prohibitively so.

It’s a case that bears watching. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Editorial Director

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