OBM, Inc., a Baltimore-based software company, today announced it filed a complaint in US District Court in the Southern District of Texas against Houston-based Lancium, Inc. (Lancium). OBM is seeking a declaratory judgment declaring the company is not infringing on Lancium's patent by offering its customers energy management technologies designed to comply with regulations of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
OBM filed the lawsuit following repeated ongoing threats by Lancium accusing OBM of infringing on its US Patent No. 10,608,433 (the 433 Patent). These threats have affected OBM's business relationships with multiple customers in Texas, and OBM is seeking a declaration from the Court to resolve the dispute.
"As a matter of public policy, Lancium should not have the ability to monopolize a regulatory standard intended for broad adoption of ERCOT through an untimely filed patent and suing its competitor," said Dan Lawrence, CEO of OBM.
"These accusations are unfounded and unjustified, and we've been forced to take legal action to protect our business and customer relationships," said Lawrence. "OBM does not and has never infringed on the Lancium patent, and in fact our software solution offers broader functionality than Lancium's product."
The lawsuit aims to free up the market for all cryptocurrency mining energy software providers in Texas, who are currently being blocked by Lancium's threats of patent litigation. The complaint contends that Lancium should not be able to avail itself of patent "monopoly" by claiming as its own invention long standing, publicly known and practiced technology when it filed its patent. Accordingly, the patent should have never been issued.
In order to protect the Texas electric grid from overload, especially during surge periods of peak demand or weather disruption, ERCOT created the Controllable Load Resource (CLR) policy specifically for heavy energy users like the crypto mining industry. Miners opt-in to participate in the CLR designation and are required to reduce their load consumption immediately when ERCOT requests it. This requires crypto miners to adopt and implement sophisticated energy management technologies to follow the ERCOT protocols. Lawrence stated, "While this lawsuit focuses very specifically on CLR in Texas, this suit underscores our commitment to all of our customers in Texas."
"Our software is designed to help crypto miners operate more efficiently, contain energy costs, and comply with ERCOT regulations in many ways," said Lawrence. "Lancium's use of patent laws and intimidation tactics to block out innovation in our industry not only undermines ERCOT policy and intent, it puts Texas energy consumers in jeopardy if these crypto mines can't fulfill their responsibility to reduce their load under ERCOT's CLR designation."
As stated in the lawsuit, "Upon information and belief, multiple cryptocurrency software companies that are considering assisting its customers in participating in ERCOT's energy curtailment programs and qualifying and participating as a CLR with ERCOT have been approached by Lancium with threats of enforcing the '433 Patent."
"A declaratory judgment lawsuit will allow OBM to clear the air and conduct its business free from the threat of a patent infringement lawsuit" the lawsuit states.
In the lawsuit OBM has requested a jury trial to present evidence confirming the company is not infringing on the 433 Patent, and to expose Lancium's tactics to restrain competition and chill innovation in this critical energy sector.