Tigo Energy, Inc., a provider of solar and energy storage solutions, has filed a lawsuit against the SunSpec Alliance in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
In the wake of a ruling in which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) upheld Tigo claims relevant to the SunSpec Alliance Rapid Shutdown Specification, Tigo alleges that SunSpec and its representatives continued their long-standing campaign to encourage its members to infringe on Tigo intellectual property by importing or selling infringing rapid shutdown devices in the U.S.
Starting with a formal notification sent to SunSpec Alliance in October 2017, Tigo has repeatedly informed SunSpec Alliance that Tigo patents are necessary for the SunSpec Rapid Shutdown Specification. Tigo asked SunSpec to notify its members that they should acquire a license from Tigo to manufacture, use, import, sell or offer to sell rapid shutdown devices that practice the SunSpec Rapid Shutdown Specification, and that Tigo would offer a license on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. SunSpec refused and instead filed two IPR (inter pares review) petitions with the USPTO in July 2021. SunSpec’s IPRs identified five member companies that stood to benefit from that legal intervention.
In January 2023, the USPTO rejected one of SunSpec’s IPRs in its entirety and ruled in favor of Tigo on three of five claims in SunSpec’s other IPR.
“The patents in our IP portfolio are core assets to Tigo, the USPTO has affirmed our claims, and we do not understand what would motivate anyone to encourage the violation of the same,” says Zvi Alon, chairman and CEO at Tigo Energy Inc. “The goal of Tigo is to offer high-quality rapid shutdown solutions to our installer base by investing in the research and development necessary to innovate. I reiterate that Tigo will offer reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing terms to SunSpec Alliance members.”
Tigo has prevailed in a previous patent infringement litigation and presently has a pending lawsuit that includes six patent infringement claims against SMA Solar Technology America LLC. Tigo has also licensed its patented technology to other solar equipment manufacturers.