Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ruling in Favor of SemaConnect
Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the decision of a lower court in a dispute over an EV charging patent case brought by electric vehicle charging company ChargePoint, Inc. of Campbell, CA against a competitor, SemaConnect, Inc. of Bowie, MD.
Just over one year ago, Judge Marvin J. Garbis, of the U. S. District Court in Baltimore dismissed a lawsuit brought by ChargePoint that alleged that SemaConnect had infringed four patents in the area of networked electric vehicle charging stations. The lower court judge found all of the patent claims asserted by ChargePoint were invalid.
The judge had agreed with SemaConnect’s defense that the patents were invalid because the claims were drawn to an abstract idea, and the method of implementing those claims was not enough to transform the abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.
EV Charging Patent an Issue in Electrify America Contract Award
In the Factual Background section of the Maryland Court’s order, the judge wrote that both ChargePoint and SemaConnect were considered by Electrify America for a contract to install EV charging stations during Cycle 1 of the $2 billion ZEV Investment Plan mandated by a settlement with Volkswagon. The judge pointed out that Electrify America had initially narrowed the list of companies to be considered for the awards to four including SemaConnect, ChargePoint and two others.
Electrify America ultimately awarded contracts to SemaConnect and two other companies but not to ChargePoint. Shortly thereafter, ChargePoint filed a motion for emergency injunctive relief in Federal Court seeking to prevent SemaConnect from moving forward with their work with Electrify America. ChargePoint alleged that SemaConnect’s EV charging systems were desired by Electrify America in part because of functionalities in the systems that ChargePoint claimed infringed their patents.
ChargePoint’s failure to convince the United States Court of Appeals to overturn the lower court will likely end the battle over the disputed patents.