A tale of two headlines – nine solar patents upheld, two discarded


The Patent Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board issued a final decision on eleven patents held by Tigo Energy, Inc. From the suit, brought by the SunSpec Alliance, nine of the patents were seemingly ruled in Tigo’s favor, while two of them were apparently ruled in SunSpec’s favor. SunSpec did note that they would potentially appeal the ruling, and needed to have conversations with its members on what to do next.

Reading the headlines from the competing press departments only – one is led to believe this was a ‘win win’ type of decision. Tigo noted that they secured an ‘overwhelming’ 80% victory rate.

The headline read: Tigo Energy Secures Overwhelming Legal Victory Protecting U.S. Innovation in Solar Industry: U.S. patent office rejects more than 80% of SunSpec Alliance patent challenges, helping Tigo protect solar industry R&D investments

Tigo expressed excitement at their portfolio of patents being mostly defended. They hardly mentioned the two patents that were ruled against, except to say, “ruling on the two other claims has no effect on the applicability of the 18 remaining claims in the ’770 patent to the SunSpec Rapid Shutdown Specification.”

The headline read: Patent Office Invalidates Tigo Energy Inc.’s Patent Claims in Response to SunSpec Alliance IPR Challenge

SunSpec appeared happy to take down two specific patents, out of eleven overall. SunSpec noted in their press release that “Petitioner has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that claims 12 and 13 of U.S. Patent No. 10,256,770 are unpatentable.” SunSpec stated in their release that U.S. Pat. No. 8,531,055 anticipated the claims by Tigo.

In its press release, SunSpec noted that Tigo had filed suit against SunSpec members using their ownership of patent 10,256,770. SunSpec included links to prior art.

However, at the end of SunSpec’s press release, they do express disappointment over losing the argument on the other nine patents. SunSpec is considering its next steps, which may include filing an appeal.

pv magazine USA reached out to both companies to gain insight into why the two groups might both be feeling positive about the outcome, but as of the time of this publication has not received a response.

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