June 8, 2024  

5 Things to Know:  June 8

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A conflict arises over acoustic lighting products.  Plus, bridge lighting decisions spark community backlash.


Here's a roundup of some of the week's happenings curated to help lighting people stay informed. 


1.  Cooledge acoustic products accused of patent infringement

Mark Pinchot has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Cooledge Lighting, Inc., a Canadian company with an office in Burlington, Massachusetts. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, alleges that Cooledge’s TILE Acoustic lighting products infringe on two patents owned by Pinchot and Heilux, LLC. These patents, U.S. Patent No. 0,215,387 and U.S. Patent No. 10,779,478, cover technologies for acoustic-control light fixtures.

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Above:  Exhibit from lawsuit shows specification sheet of accused Cooledge TILE Acoustic product

According to the complaint, the TILE Acoustic products include lighting sheets with LEDs arranged in a grid and mounted to acoustic tiles, features that Pinchot claims are protected by these patents. The lawsuit asserts that Cooledge has been aware of these patents and has continued to sell the infringing products, demonstrating a willful disregard for the patent holders’ rights.

Pinchot is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent further infringement, as well as monetary damages for the alleged violations. Multiple messages to Cooledge over the past five days seeking comment went unanswered.


See complaint »



2 .  Funding Big Energy Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has recently published a memo emphasizing the importance of attracting private capital to support clean energy investments, citing a need for $300-350 billion annually. The DOE aims to ensure that terms for large capital projects, particularly those exceeding $50 million, are attractive to project sponsors, thus encouraging private sector contributions. The memorandum outlines strategies to structure projects in ways that are financially and commercially viable for private sector replication without reliance on DOE funding. Key elements include mitigating risks to attract private investment and providing a clear pathway for financing to avoid project failures due to inadequate funding terms.

The DOE memorandum also provides guidance on several critical policy areas to facilitate commercialization and financing of large capital projects. It addresses the DOE’s tangible property interest, ensuring that DOE's interest in project property does not hinder debt financing. It also outlines the requirement for non-federal cost share, stressing that 50% of project costs must come from non-federal sources, and highlights the importance of community benefits commitments, program income usage, and data sharing. These measures aim to ensure projects have sufficient private sector involvement and are structured for long-term success.


4-page memo »



3.   Pride Month Bridge Controversy

Florida's decision to illuminate its bridges exclusively in red, white, and blue from Memorial Day to Labor Day has sparked significant controversy and disappointment among the LGBTQ+ community. The Florida Department of Transportation, under Secretary Jared Perdue, declared that the patriotic colors would replace the rainbow lights traditionally displayed during Pride Month. This shift is part of the "Freedom Summer" initiative, which also affects other observances such as Juneteenth and Mental Health Awareness Day, as reported by Kaycee Sloan from Tampa's NBC News Channel 8 and NPR's WUSF.


In response to the state's decision, residents in Jacksonville took it upon themselves to light the Main Street Bridge in rainbow colors using flashlights, demonstrating their support for the LGBTQ+ community. On June 1, locals gathered at Friendship Park and illuminated the bridge with rainbow hues, a grassroots effort that was captured and shared on social media. This act of protest highlights the community's resilience and determination to celebrate Pride despite official restrictions, as detailed in the above news report by News4Jax.


4.   Leviton Achieves Carbon Neutrality in Oregon Facility

Leviton has announced that its facility in Tualatin, Oregon, has achieved carbon neutrality, a significant milestone in the company's broader environmental goals. This achievement is part of Leviton's commitment to achieving company-wide carbon neutrality by 2030 and Net Zero Carbon by 2050. Since 2001, the Oregon facility has focused on engineering and manufacturing energy-efficient commercial lighting controls and submetering solutions, contributing to the reduction of the company's environmental impact.

Tom Leonard, vice president and general manager of Leviton Lighting & Controls, emphasized the importance of this accomplishment, noting it as a pivotal step towards a more sustainable future for the community.

Leviton first established its presence in Tualatin, Oregon through the company’s acquisition of NSI/Colortan in 1999.


Learn more »


5.   Documentary Highlights Light Pollution and Bird Migration Challenges

"Lights Out Texas" is being featured at various events and museums across Texas, with screenings also available for private events. The documentary explores the centuries-old migration patterns of birds navigating the Texas skies, highlighting the adverse effects of light pollution on their natural instincts. By blending applied science and conservation efforts, the film showcases how reducing light pollution can significantly aid these migratory birds.

Produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, "Lights Out Texas" emphasizes the vital role of science and community action in bird conservation. The film utilizes data from the US weather surveillance radar network and advanced machine learning to reveal new insights into bird behaviors. It highlights the collective efforts of conservation organizations, government agencies, and the private sector in mitigating light pollution.


Learn more »