- A federal court dismissed claims of patent infringement brought by ChargePoint, Inc. against a rival in the EV charging station market, SemaConnect, Inc. The court found ChargePoint’s asserted patents to claim inventions that are ineligible for patent protection and thus unenforceable against SemaConnect.
- ChargePoint has appealed the decision to the U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which will hear arguments between the parties.
Electric vehicle (EV) charging station provider SemaConnect Inc. won dismissal of a patent infringement lawsuit brought in federal court in Maryland. The lawsuit, brought by ChargePoint Inc., was thrown out after the court found that all four of ChargePoint’s asserted patents claim inventions that are ineligible for patent protection. Specifically, the court found that the patents claim nothing more than an “abstract idea” as their invention.
SemaConnect CEO Mahi Reddy called the result a “vindication of our effort to support open standards and interoperability of charging networks and stations.” He added that “this outcome is also a big win for the charging industry, the electric vehicle industry, and utilities.”
The lawsuit was filed just three months ago, with ChargePoint requesting that the court enter an emergency injunction to prevent SemaConnect from delivering EV charging stations in fulfillment of a contract with Electrify America, the VW subsidiary that has pledged to spend $2 billion on EV infrastructure. Both SemaConnect and ChargePoint made bids on the contract, with ChargePoint bringing the patent lawsuit after the contract was awarded to SemaConnect. (See our post describing the initial lawsuit here).
By requesting an emergency injunction, ChargePoint’s case received immediate attention from the court. An initial hearing was held just one week after the lawsuit was filed, and the court denied the emergency injunction soon after that.
SemaConnect quickly followed with a motion to dismiss the case, asserting that ChargePoint’s patents were invalid for claiming inventions that are ineligible for patent protection. (See our post describing the motion to dismiss here). After briefing from the parties, the court agreed with SemaConnect and found that each asserted patent was directed to nothing more than an abstract idea. Under U.S. patent law, “laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas” may not be patented. Any patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office but later found to be directed to one of these ineligible subject matters is invalid and cannot be enforced against other parties.