Bigbelly, which has 1,500 customers in 50 countries using its solar-powered, internet-connected, self-compacting trash bins, has formally served a complaint to competitor Ecube Labs Co. alleging infringement of two Bigbelly patents covering energy management technologies for solar-powered compactors.
Bigbelly filed the complaint in the U.S. Central District Court on July 28 and formally served Ecube Labs on August 8. The same complaint filed against Ecube Labs Co. Ltd. (South Korea), and similar complaints filed in the German Court against EconX Waste Solutions B.V. (Netherlands) and German Ecotec GMBH are in the process of being served. The text of the claim was posted earlier this month at Resource Recycling.
"Bigbelly remains committed to defending the technologies in our IP portfolio,” Bigbelly CEO Brian Phillips said in a statement. “We continue to assert our patents to protect Bigbelly's investment in developing the world's leading smart waste and recycling system.”
Ecube Labs disputed the claims in a statement to Waste360.
"Ecube Labs categorically denies, and intends to zealously defend against, the patent infringement suit recently filed by BigBelly Solar,” Ecube Labs CEO Sean Sunbeom said in the emailed statement. “As a technology innovator, Ecube Labs respects the intellectual property of others while vigorously pursuing exclusive rights on its own innovations. The complaint's allegations that Ecube Labs' CleanCUBE products infringe BigBelly's patents are completely without merit. We are confident that this lawsuit is merely a strategic move to interfere with our operations in territories that BigBelly has enjoyed uncontested for the past decade. Ecube Labs is proud of its own proprietary technology and patent-pending innovations and is confident that it will be vindicated in this lawsuit and emerge as the market and innovation leader."
Bigbelly says the patented technologies enable its smart waste and recycling system to manage an energy budget based upon the solar energy harvested and the energy needs of the station. The company says it is important that solar-powered compactors function in locations with limited or no direct sunlight, since most waste bins are in proximity of buildings, trees and other infrastructure. As a result, its patented energy management is critical to those systems working.
Bigbelly is requesting that the U.S. and German courts issue rulings confirming that certain Ecube and EconX products infringe Bigbelly's U.S. and European patents.
Specifically, with regard to the lawsuit in Germany, Bigbelly (Plaintiff) filed a complaint for patent infringement against EconX and its distributor, German Ecotec GMBH (Defendants), in the District Court of Munich I, Docket No. 21 0 1186/17 for alleged infringement of the German portion of EP 1 638 704 B 1 through the offering and sale of EconTOP waste compactor devices. Bigbelly requests an injunction against the offer and sale of the EconTOP devices in Germany, a recall of infringing products from the German market, the rendering of information and account, and damages for past infringement.
Regarding the lawsuit in the U.S., Bigbelly filed a complaint for patent infringement against Ecube Labs Co. (U.S.) and Ecube Labs Co. Ltd. (South Korea) for alleged infringement of U.S. Patents Nos. 7,481,159 and 7,124,680 through the offering and sale of Clean CUBE waste compactor devices. Bigbelly requests an injunction against the offer and sale of the infringing devices in the U.S., and damages for past infringement.