Vision Systems and SunPartners have introduced a sloar -powered SPD aircraft window called Energia. The glass is embedde with SunPartners' light-sensing, transparent, photovoltaic WYSIPS cells.
Google WYSIPS youtube for a good video explainingit.
The contested patents are all older ones. The most important is US 6606185, covering the use of mixed metal oxides as suspended particle device particles. The second is US5463491, covering the film-making process and the third is US 6271956, which covers the adhesive used to adhere the film to glass or plastic.
The '491 patent has already expired, but if the Court finds E-Ink has infringed on it, RFI would be entitled to damages for the six years prior to its expiration.
Keep in mind that RFI's licensees are also patenting improvements to SPD technology. Hitachi, for instance has recently patented what they claim is a display-speed SPD film and RFI has an ongoing R&D program.
That's always been my take on REFR, and I've been here well over a decade. Some of the other investors have been around for more than twice that.. The day traders come and go, and there's been a significant short position since at least 1997. The small number of shares and low daily trading volume, however, mean it's not a good place to put money you may need in a hurry.
I suggest that you contact the company directly with questions about the technology. I've always received prompt answers to any queries that didn't require confidential information.
If you don't mind registering, Seeking Alpha has transcripts of several of RFI's past quarterly conference calls.
AGP, LTI and Traco are licensees and they are NOT READY TO DELIVER ANYTHING SPD--try and buy some. Flim would have to be air freighted. Lead times would be uncertain at best. Nothing happening.
I can try to buy some film, but no one will sell it to me because I'M NOT AN RFI LICENSEE. You have no idea what supply chain arrangements any of those three companies have with Hitachi. And BTW, flight time from Hitachi 's SPF film production unit in Japan to Anywhere, USA? Less than 24 hours.
6) Vision Systems little 15,000 sq.ft. facility (with less than a couple thousand foot clean room) is not set up to do thousands of windows...it is set up to do hundreds per year.
Vision Systems has developed the Nuance and Noctis SPD aircraft windows in conjunction with Vaupell, who make windows for all Boeing models. Vaupell has a window assembly plant in Seattle, where Boeing assembles the 787.
Here's how it works: The licensee comes up with a product, shops it around to the OEMs, and the OEM shot it around to their customers. If a customer orders it, the OEM builds it. Vaupell = OEM for Boeing.
3) And the point is, you get $125 per car, except on the limited production large cars with panoramic glass. OK
No, the point is that RFI has stated publicly that the royalties for the SL and SLKs average $125; that fluctuates, as you say, with Euro/USD exchange rates. They've also stated that the royalties for the S-Class roofs range between $150 and $250 – but that, too depends on exchange rate.
Your use of “limited production” large cars is disingenuous; the S-class model annual sales run between 650K (at the end of a cycle) and 115K. Mercedes has targeted the dealerships where they expect MSC-equipped S-class models will be in greatest demand and is supplying them accordingly.
You also have no idea what the take rates on the S-Class coupe of Maybach have been during the brief time they've been available. Similarly, you have not idea what they'll be on the sedans.
4) The glass is at least $200.00 per sq.ft. and EC is about $60.00 sq.ft. It is hard to find a authoritative source for north America since no one is offering SPD for architecture.
So did you find an authoritative source, or do you just like the $200.00 figure? SAGEglass and View are both selling EC architectural glass, so I'm assuming you got the $60.00 figure from one of them? If not, may I have your source?
The devil is still in the details...and you are smart enough to know how to glide, slip and pirouette around the details that you do not like. So here are my corrections and expansions to your incomplete answers:
1) Currency exchange rates don't affect Lincoln--ah, but Mercedes is where 90% of all REFR revenues come from...IN EUROPE.
Yes, Mercedes is in Europe. They're also in China and the U.S., and you don't know their future plans for Magic SKY are, or whether or not the models they manufacture in those countries will be using it. Do you?
You're predicating (look it up) all your comments on the assumption that Mercedes continue to be will be the only source of automotive revenue for RFI . Ford has already proven you wrong.
2) But the "take rate" nevertheless does decline after the first model year. So this years will be the best year for the S- Class and then it will inevitably slip, like the SL and SLK. You are luck they renewed for the SL. And with 10% take rates, I'm glad you are so easily pleased.
The ”take rate” – which is one of Mercedes' closely-guarded secrets -- refers to the percentage of those vehicles being sold with SPD sunroofs. The numbers of SL and SLK vehicles being sold each year since 2011 has dropped, but the percentage SPD sunroofs being sold on those cars has risen. When they undergo their next upgrade in three or four years, their sales numbers will rise again. It's cyclical.
SPD, LCD and electrochromic (EC) glass all operate on an electrical current. The difference is that the first two are dark in their off states, while EC darkens when the current is supplied.
"I assume the tinting can be made automatic by sensor or controlled from a tablet as someone posted"
Yes. The USA Pavilion roof is engineered to respond automatically to changes in light, and visitors to the roof can also change individual panes from a touchscreen tablet.
RFI licensee Vision Systems has introduced SPD aircraft windows that darken at the wave of a hand, and Mercedes and Lufthansa are teaming up to provide banks of SPD aircraft windows for VIP aircraft cabins.They'll allow customers to incorporate displays and touch screens.
"I think the next step is to not only tint them but to possibly make them reflective as well. There would be a demand for that as in hot places reflecting the light away might help keep out the heat"
SPD uses heat-reflective particles. One of the problems some passengers have had with Boeing's 787 electrochromic windows is that the ones on the sunlit side of the aircraft get uncomfortably hot.
"Can it be made on flexible plastic sheets like OLED?"
SPD films can be applied to glass and plastic. I'm not familiar enough with OLEDs to know if they're in a film applied to plastic, or incorporated directly in it.
I've been following an amusing discussion about exploding sunroofs on the SI board.
None of them of course, have been MSC sunroofs. The "throw anything and see what sticks" approach to bashing seems to be all that's left.
Don't know if the 7-Series panoramic roof has an SPD option. Even without it, the S-class sedans soon to arrive at U.S. and Chinese dealerships with $2,500 MSC must have the shorts concerned.
The alternative way of looking at R.Class reality is that revenues are declining since the pinnacle year in 2013.
The devil in the details is:
1) Currency exchange rates are hurting REFR.
They hurt only on cars manufactured in Europe. Lincoln isn't.
2) It seem the first year of a model is the big volume year and then everything tails off from there.
This has been true for the Mercedes SL and SLK models, which are now in their 4th year since first having Magic Sky Control available. And as the price of SPD-Smart glass has gone down, the take rate of SPD-sunroofs in these vehicles has increased enough that Mercedes announced that MSC has included in the latest SL-refresh.
3) The royalty rate per car has dropped from $250.00 in 2013 to $150.00 per car this year.
In 2013, the only cars with SPD available were the SL and SLK models, and the average royalty was $125.
Royalties on the various S-class models, beginning with the S-class coupe which went into production in June 12, 2014, range from $150 to $250, according to RFI. If you have a more authoritative source for your figures, please supply it.
4)Architecture will be a long, long time in coming. The glass costs north of $200.00/sq/ft.
An authoritative source, please?
5) There is no North American laminator for large plate glass currently able to do SPD
AGP, LTI, Traco -- all licensees.
6) Airline industry has no infrastructure in North America for Boeing. The only company is focused on Bombardier.
Vision Systems, maker of several different varieties of SPD-equipped aircraft windows, has a manufacturing plant in Melbourne FL. They've partnered with Boeing supplier Vaupell to produce SPD Noctis and Nuance windows, with Boeing in mind.
Boeing gets the electrochromic windows currently in use on the 787 from PPG Aerospace, located in Huntsville AL.
Start by googling Research Frontiers Mercedes Magic Sky Control or USA Pavilion roof Expo MIlano. That should give you plenty to digest.
No settlement is going to happen before the Judge decides the Motion for Summary Judgment, and the losing side on that could very well appeal.
Even if they win that motion, I very much doubt that E-Ink will even consider settling until the Court issues its claims constructions. The Markman hearing for that is currently scheduled for November, and Judge Stark has indicated he will try to issue his rulings (or Judge Burke will issue his) within 60 days, which would put us into January.
Those rulings usually give a good indication of how strong the contested patents are. They're what the jury uses -- along with testimony, of course -- to decide if infringement has occurred.
IOW, I'm not holding my breath waiting for a settlement.
E-Ink is hoping to get from Hankuk every iota of anything possibly connected to their work on and commercialization of SPD, from their research and testing though the product development, sales efforts and financial accounting for those sales.
They are particularly interested in whatever they can learn about the information in the these PRs:
S.P.I.E. Optical Instrumentation Show
San Diego, California
July 29-31, 1997
RESEARCH FRONTIERS AND HANKUK GLASS INDUSTRIES INTRODUCE REVOLUTIONARY "SMART GLASS" TECHNOLOGY FOR BROAD RANGE OF APPLICATIONS
and all Hankuk's SPD process and products developed before March 2, 2000 and June 12, 2001. Those are the date of filing for RFI's contested '956 film adhesive and '185 mixed-metal oxide particle patents.
They're looking for proof that Hankuk developed or used the film adhesive and mixed-metal oxides in their SPD products before RFI applied for the two patents, so they can have them invalidated.
FWIW, RFI applied for a Korean patent on the film adhesive on Aug. 8, 2002 . It was granted March 30, 2007, so the Korean Patent Office didn't find any prior art from Hankuk that would have invalidated it. I haven't found any Hankuk patents for mixed metal oxide particles by searching the Korean Patent database, but I may not be using the correct search terms.
E-Ink also wants details about these:
Hankuk Glass Industries Establishes Separate Business Unit Devoted Exclusively to SPD Film and Products. (Jan. 8, 2001)
Research Frontiers To Write Off Remaining Investment In Korean Light-Control Film Manufacturer SPD Inc.; Next-Generation Light-Control Film Now Available (April 30, 2004)
Research Frontiers To Write Off Remaining Investment In Korean Light-Control Film Manufacturer SPD Inc.; Next-Generation Light-Control Film Now Available (Jan. 8, 2004)
issue a Letter of Request for International Judicial Assistance to the National Court Administration in
Seoul, South Korea.
The letter is to ask the Korean Court to compel Hankuk Glass and its subsidiaries to provide
E-Ink with all the documents and testimony they request dating from when Hankuk was an RFI licensee
They are seeking the information -- which dates from between 1990 and 2004 -- under the Hague Convention, because otherwise they cannot compel Hankuk to provide it.
They don't indicate whether Hankuk has thus far refused to do so.
RFI filed their final infringement contentions right on schedule. I'd be quite surprised E-Ink asks for a second extension to file their final invalidity contentions. This Judge isn't fond of delays.
OK, I've checked the case file and D.I. 42 is the Nov. 5 scheduling order that set the timetable for the case proceedings through discovery and trial. It was accompanied by Judge Stark of the District Court, where the trial would be held, referring the case to Magistrate Judge Burke for mediation. All this took place on Nov. 5 2014.
Mediation in patent suits isn't mandatory in Delaware, but the parties can't refuse without supplying the ciurt with a good reason.
RFI and E-ink have had two mediation hearings before Judge Burke, one in late January and a second on Mar. 30, two days before E-Ink filed a motion for summary judgement to have one of the patents dismissed.
As of today, no further mediation conferences have been scheduled, and until the summary judgement motion is decided, IMO none is likely.
Claims construction is the process in which both sides present the court with their interpretations of how the supposedly infringed claims in the patents should be worded, or constructed. The judge selects one of the options presented for each, or comes up with his own.
Normally, the Judge who would be trying the case does the claims constructions. Apparently, from yesterday's oral order, Judge Stark has delegated some of the job to Judge Burke. This isn't unusual, given the number of IP cases on the Delaware District Court docket.
From the Textron PR, dated May 18 under Cabin Upgrades"
The personal device-centric cabin will include international or domestic *Wi-Fi as **standard** on the King Air 350i and 250 aircraft and **optional** on the C90GTx. Also **standard** on all three models will be electronically dimmable window shades, offering a simple interface that provides clearer views and darker shading at the touch of a button.
Textron knows there's a distinction between standard and optional features, even if you don't.
From October 2008:
PPG Aerospace and Gentex to supply King Air 350i electrochromic shades
First use of PPG-Gentex electrochromic window shades in business, general aviation
"PPG Industries’ (NYSE:PPG) aerospace transparencies business and Gentex Corporation (NASDAQ:GNTX) will supply electrochromic window shade systems to Hawker Beechcraft Corporation for the passenger-cabin windows of the 2010 **Beechcraft King Air 350i** airplane, according to PPG, Gentex and HBC officials. The airplane will be the first in general and business aviation with electrically dimmable window shades as **standard equipment** and only the second aircraft program to use the technology developed by PPG and Gentex.
From yesterday's PR:
Electronically Dimmable Windows (EDWs) using patented SPD-Smart light-control technology invented by Research Frontiers REFR, -0.82% and supplied by InspecTech Aero Service, have been selected as *standard equipment* on the King Air C90GTx, the King Air 250, and the **King Air 350i.**
and replacing Gentex/PPG EC on the KingAir 350i.
Who else is exhibiting SPD aircraft windows at EBACE?