Powermat started to hunt down its patents’ infringers

The District Court in Texas ruled in favor of Powermat Technologies Company from Israel, in a lawsuit filed against two Chinese companies, Nanami and Yootech, regarding unauthorized usage of  Powermat’s wireless charging patents. Under the terms of the settlement, the Chinese companies, who market wireless chargers (mainly through Amazon), agreed to pay Powermat Technologies an initial payment covering the past use of patented technologies, followed by ongoing quarterly  licensing payments for future use, under commercial licensing agreement. 

Techtime has learned that this is not a single case, and Powermat had started an extensive move,  aimed to monetizing its patents portfolio, composed from around 130 wireless charging patents. This process includes locating companies around the globe that violates Powermat’s patents, and demanding these companies to compensate the company, and later – to sign a licensing agreement for authorized usage. In cases where companies refuse to settle, Powermat may take legal actions, in the same manner they did with Yootech and Nanami.  

Powermat estimates that there are hundreds of companies around the world using its patents with  no authorization. It was also told to Techtime that this move recently yielded tens of millions of dollars from a licensing agreement with a major smartphone manufacturer that, according to Powermat, misused its technology. Currently, Powermat negotiate with another 20 companies,  requiring them to pay and sign a licensing agreement.  

The company that manages the commercial litigation battle is First Libra Company. In a conversation with Techtime, Ofer Furth, founder and chairman of First Libra, who also serves as a director in Powermat, says that the potential of this process is huge. Until today, Powermat didn’t engage in monetarizing its patents in a  systematic manner. The company owns a large number of patents, and we take it upon ourselves to lead the monetization. When we identify a company infringes a patent, we first try to come to an  agreement, and we offer to sign a licensing agreement. If the negotiation fails, we use legal means”. 

Essential patents for the QI Standard 

Powermat is considered one of the pioneers in the wireless charging area and was the first company  in the world to market wireless charging surfaces. The charging is done using electromagnetic  induction between the coil in the transmitter and between the coil in the receiver, without the need to plug the device to electrical outlet through cable.  

One of the most significant standards in the industry that regulates the wireless charging is the QI Standard. Powermat has number of patents that are defined as “Standard Essential”, that is – they  are necessary for the realization of the standard. Powermat took a major part in forming the  standard, and is also a member of the WPC consortium, which promotes and enforces the standard.  

Ofer Furth

Companies that want to market a wireless charger with the “QI Certified” seal, must submit their product for inspection in one of the laboratories that work with the WPC. Furth explains that this makes the task of locating transgressors relatively easy. “The minute a company declares that its product has received a QI Standard certification, it is violating Powermat’s patents, as long as it hasn’t signed a licensing agreement. The judge in Texas expressly stated that, and it is very significant for Powermat’s continued efforts”. 

Within First Libra’s operation model, it bears the financing of the legal expenses and manages the  proceedings, and in case damages are awarded, it gets some of the amount. Furth reveals that the company is currently negotiating with two other Israeli High-Tech companies. 

“Israeli technology companies register patents for their technologies, but do not always enforce  them. Our goal is to identify companies that hold an extensive patent portfolio and examine whether there is economic viability, since the legal expenses me be high”. 

Powermat Unveiled Through-walls Wireless Charging

Tel Aviv-based Powermat has launched a new mid-range wireless charging platform for mobile and IoT devices . The technology is based on electromagnetic induction and is capable of charging devices, as well as providing them with a continuous current of up to 50W over a distance of 20 cm, and also through walls, glass windows and plastic surfaces.

Previous generations provided shorter distances of 0.8-10 cm. Powermat product manager, Aya Kantor, told Techtime the increased range addresses the needs of the IoT devices. “Most wireless charging platforms require high coupling between the receiver and the transmitter'” he said. “But many devices are not able to achieve exact coupling, hence the need to expand the charging range.”

The new mid-range platform can wirelessly charge security cameras and 5G transmitters installed outside the house, without the need of through-wall cabling. It also ideal for home robots such as autonomous vacuum cleaners, which miss many time the needed position for a smooth charging process due to lack of precision.

Booming market

Powermat technology is based onelectromagnetic induction process, which creates an alternating electromagnetic field and transfers energy between a transmiter and the receiver, both of which contain an induction coil. When placed in close proximity to the transmitter, the receiver converts the electromagnetic field into electrical power. Using in-band signaling to communicate, the two units are able to regulate power levels and manage the charging.

Powermat is a pioneer of wireless charging and was the first to introduce wireless charging surfaces for smartphones. It was founded in 2006 by Ran Polyakin, Dr. Amir Ben Shalom, Dov Hirschberg and Yoav Hefer. The company has offices in Tel Aviv, Europe and the United States. It provides Qi-certified and proprietary wireless charging platforms for automotive, robotics, consumer electronics, medical devices, IoT, telecom, and Industrial applications.

The company’s inductive wireless charging technology can already be found in over 500 million devices and is deployed by global market leaders such as Samsung, LG, General Motors, Flex, Harman International and Kyocera. According to Allied Market Research, the wireless charging market will grow from $ 6.5 billion in 2018 to $ 49.3 billion by 2027, due to the proliferation of IoT devices and the increasing adoption of wireless charging  by mobile manufacturers. Kantor: “We will continue to increase the charging ranges.”