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Crestron Sued Over Lighting Control System

In Australia, Crestron is distributed by Hills with the company recently announcing that that they will go it alone with their own lighting control system as opposed to working with Clipsal.

This is not the first time that Lutron has tried to protect their patents. 18 months ago, the lighting control manufacturer took action against Vantage/Legrand, Leviton and Control4. All of these companies chose to settle as oppose to initiating expensive legal action.

In their latest US filings, Lutron accuses Crestron of “unlawful and unabashed copying” of the companys intellectual property for radio frequency transmitting and receiving antenna and a control device for controlling and determining the status of electrical devices from remote locations.

Lutron claim that these patents reflect how Lutron overcame some “problematic obstacles” of two-way RF lighting:

– Unfriendly electromagnetic environment presented by the standard dimmer switch and metal junction boxes, which make for noisy communications

– Lack of a neutral wire in older homes (solved with a relatively low-power RF transmitter).

Lutron claim that two of the disputed patents are embedded in RadioRa system which was first introduced in 1996, as well as in subsequent RF-based lighting control systems.

They also claim that Crestron’s new infiNET ZigBee-enabled lighting control infringes

A 200 patent, according to Lutron, describes “the technology necessary to control a virtually unlimited number of lighting zones with a single wall-mounted control.”

Lutron claims that Crestron’s “infringement of the ‘200 patent, and its copying of Lutron’s innovative GRAFIK EYE product, evidences a wilful, reckless, and deliberate disregard of Lutron’s patent rights.”

The case is expected in court next month.