ChargePoint, Inc. v. SemaConnect, Inc., No. 18-1739 (Fed. Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
ChargePoint’s patents pertain to charging stations for electric vehicles. At the time the patent application was filed, the charging process “typically require[d] hours and [was] often done overnight or while the electric vehicle [was] parked for a significant time.” Businesses such as restaurants, apartments, and shopping centers have installed electric vehicle charging stations for the convenience of their customers. During periods of high demand, utility companies sometimes reduce the power supply to certain customers based on a preplanned load prioritization scheme, (demand response). In addition to pulling electricity from a local electricity grid, electric vehicles may also supply electricity to the grid. Vehicle-to-grid transfer can be helpful during periods of high demand. ChargePoint contends that its inventors created networked charging stations, managed from a central location, allowing drivers to locate charging stations in advance, and allowing all users to interact intelligently with the electricity grid; the patents suggest that drivers can choose to transfer power from their vehicles to the power grid during periods of high demand. The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of ChargePoint’s infringement suit. The eight asserted claims ChargePoint were ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. 101, as directed to abstract ideas concerning communication.