Tesla in Patent Dispute with pointSET Over How Automaker Remotely Controls Cabin Temperature of Model S

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 5

pointSET User Interface Example

pointSET User Interface Example

Lawsuits and patent disputes aren’t our specialty, but since this one involves Tesla Motors, we’ll give it a shot.

Tesla Model S Touchscreen Needn't be Used for Some Remotely Accessible Features

Tesla Model S Touchscreen Needn’t be Used for Some Remotely Accessible Features

The Tesla Model S features a system that allows owners to remotely access the climate control settings.  This system essentially allows owner to pre-cool or pre-heat the cabin of a plugged-in Model S.  Of course, this is a feature that we’re sure all Model S owners use on almost a daily basis.

However, there may be an issue that could prevent Model S owners from accessing this feature in the future.

It seems Tesla’s remote access system may infringe upon a patent held by pointSET.

pointSET argues (and, we should note that pointSET has never filed a patent lawsuit against any other automaker) that Tesla’s system infringes on its patent.

Okay, with the basics sort of covered, we’ll know turn it over to The Reporter for some of the more detailed specifics of what’s going on here:

“In-house lawyers at Silicon Valley darling Tesla Motors Inc. have taken a bold stance against patent infringement claims.”

“Rather than wait to be sued — and apparently without a general counsel in place — Tesla filed a complaint for declaratory judgment after receiving a demand letter from Los Angeles patent holder pointSET.”

“In a five-page suit filed June 6 in the Northern District of California, a trio of in-house lawyers argue the technology that allows Tesla owners to remotely control the temperatures of their cars doesn’t infringe pointSET’s patent directly or indirectly, “either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents.”

Tesla’s response came after pointSET offered the automaker a proposed licensing agreement for use of the technology in question. Global IP Law Group (representatives of pointSET in this legal case) associate, Nicholas Dudziak, explains it like this:

Tesla Model S App

Tesla Model S App

“For a limited time, pointSET is offering a one-time, fully-paid licensing flat fee of $500,000.”

Apparently, pointSET is willing to take a reduced amount, too.  The reduced amount would only be accepted if Tesla responds quickly and ends this matter with a timely agreement.

As expected, Tesla won’t discuss this matter, as it’s a legal dispute in the ongoing stage.

David Berten, partner and founder of Global IP Law Group, claims to have spoken with Tesla over the telephone at some point rather recently.  Details of that conversation are not available.  However, Berten told The Reporter this:

“Hey, if you’ve got a good noninfringement argument, we’ll withdraw the letter.  Our positions on this are pretty transparent. It’s a little bit of a head-scratcher why Tesla decided to do this.”

For now, that’s all we know.

Both parties are scheduled to appear before US Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Francisco this September, though we believe some sort of settlement/agreement will be made prior to then.

If you’d like to know all the details of this dispute, then the links below will be your guide.

pointSET patent PDF

Lawsuit PDF

pointSET’s website

Source: The Recorder

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5 responses to "Tesla in Patent Dispute with pointSET Over How Automaker Remotely Controls Cabin Temperature of Model S"

  1. ClarksonCote says:

    The only difference I see from Tesla and other automakers, is that Tesla’s temperature can be set remotely, versus a “remote start” capability from other automakers that uses whatever climate setting you have.

    I don’t see how pointSET has any rights to that remote feature though, taking a quick 2 second look (read: EXPERT DETAILED ANALYSIS) at their website

  2. S. Koontz says:

    I love how non-IP lawyers love to speculate about patents and who should have the right – like its some reality show where the audience gets to vote their favorites.

  3. Foo says:

    And I love how IP lawyers make a living doing absolutely nothing useful.

    1. taser54 says:

      Such willful ignorance in your post.

      1. Foo says:

        The phrase “intellectual property” is somewhat of an oxymoron. The world would be a better place if the competition in markets was driven more by intellect (in the form of the execution of ideas) and less by property (in the form of the “ownership” of ideas). We might not then see things like so-called high-tech firms patenting blatantly-obvious systems (such as one-click internet shopping, or *gasp* remotely accessing automotive climate controls) or drug companies shamelessly claiming ownership over naturally-occurring phenomena (like already-existing genes), for the sole purposes of stifling actual intellectual competition, obtaining legal (but very often not the moral) authority to create artificial market scarcities, and reaping undeserved profits.