NEEDHAM, Mass., Oct. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Big Belly Solar LLC (Bigbelly), a leading global supplier of smart waste systems for public space, announced today that its lawsuits involving the German part of European Patent 1 638 704 B1 ("EP'704) against Dutch company ECOnX Waste Solutions B.V. ("ECOnX") and ECOnX reseller German EcoTec GmbH ("German EcoTec"), have now ruled in favor of Bigbelly.
Bigbelly's European Patent concerns an innovative energy management solution for solar-powered compacting waste bins that is critical for proper operation. The patent enables smart, solar powered waste and recycling systems to operate year-round with limited or no direct sunlight. This capability is required in most deployments since approximately 60% of all public space waste bins are in close proximity of buildings, trees and other infrastructure that blocks direct sunlight. Additionally, this patented technology enables Bigbelly's solar compactors to operate without interruption in cloudy weather and snow.
Without Bigbelly's proprietary technology, competing compacting waste bins are likely to stop operating more frequently and will therefore require battery replacement due to irreversible battery damage. The patent is core to Bigbelly's unique technology and embodies the experience and innovative development capabilities of Bigbelly, who are leaders in their field.
Bigbelly filed a patent infringement lawsuit against ECOnX and German EcoTec in Germany on July 28, 2017. In reaction to Bigbelly filing an infringement lawsuit, ECOnX and German EcoTec filed a nullity action against EP'704 on October 19, 2017 in an attempt to invalidate the EP'704 patent. In 2019, the District Court of Munich ruled that the solar-powered compactor "ECOnTop" sold by ECOnX and German EcoTec in 2018 and earlier, infringes Bigbelly's EP'704 patent. The Munich Court therefore enjoined ECOnX and German EcoTec from offering and selling the ECOnTop compactor with the patent-infringing features and ordered the defendants to recall infringing machines, render account of infringing acts and pay damages for the illegal use of Bigbelly's invention. The nullity complaint was subsequently dismissed in July 2020 by the German Federal Patent Court, rejecting ECOnX and German EcoTec's claim and thereby confirming that the energy management solution of EP'704 is novel and inventive. As to Bigbelly's information, the ECOnTop compactor is currently marketed and sold by Dutch company Mr. Fill B.V. since 2018. Whether Mr. Fill has changed the machine so that it does not infringe EP'704, remains unclear.
"The rulings by the German patent courts are important and the correct decisions in a time where companies in other parts of the world are not held accountable for their outright copying of patented technology", said Brian Phillips, CEO of Bigbelly. Mr. Phillips goes on to explain: "Developing technology requires significant experience, time and cost, so it is good to see that companies that copy a patented technology without license are subject to severe sanctions and liable for damages. While we expected this decision, we are elated for the good of all inventors and companies that operate in a fair and just manner. Bigbelly is proud of the technology we have developed, and it is one of the reasons we are one of the World's leading smart waste system providers. We intend to enforce our rights under this judgement, and we will seek damages resulting from direct or indirect losses as a result of the infringement."
Bigbelly has a history of protecting its intellectual property and in years past, the company launched a suit against another competitor in the US courts that ended in a settlement. The recent court victory against ECOnX and German EcoTec serves as further validation that Bigbelly's intellectual property is valid and enforceable and Bigbelly remains committed to protect its patented technology whenever necessary.
Big Belly Solar, LLC. is a prominent smart city solution provider and a leading provider of smart waste and recycling solutions. Deployed across communities, campuses and organizations in over 50 countries, the cloud-connected Bigbelly smart waste & recycling system combines smart, sensing, compacting stations with real-time software. Customers experience up to 80% collection reduction in addition to cleanliness, operational, economic, and environmental gains with Bigbelly. Discover more at www.bigbelly.com and connect on Twitter (@BigBellySolar), LinkedIn, and Facebook.