On Wednesday, May 17th, OBM announced that we have filed a complaint in US District Court in the Southern District of Texas against Lancium LLC.
First and foremost, we want our customers to hear why we filed and the broader implications of this fight directly from us.
To start, some facts: Lancium has aggressively sought patents on software that it, OBM, and other suppliers offer to cryptocurrency miners who wish to qualify as Controllable Load Resources (CLRs) with ERCOT on the Texas grid. ERCOT has incentivized uptake in this and other demand-response energy curtailment programs in recent years, and the tech they are built on form a burgeoning industry, ripe for innovation and to help with energy grid management.
Bottom line: the software in question is essential for facilities to comply with ERCOT’s rigorous regulations and thus continue operating as CLRs. Surprisingly, Lancium successfully acquired a patent in March of 2020 that has let it corner this tech. Lancium has since aggressively defended the patent with initiating litigation and making threats of litigation.
To combat this, OBM is seeking a declaratory judgment declaring that we are not, as Lancium has wrongfully asserted, infringing on its patent by offering our customers these vital CLR compliance tools.
Lancium’s accusations regarding what we are doing are unfounded. Their aggressive intellectual property claims and threats of litigation have not only forced us to shut down our CLR offerings, but they’ve also iced numerous other software providers across the state. To be clear, this only applies to CLR; we are continuing our other energy management offerings.
We are not taking the step of filing this complaint lightly, and it was not our first attempt at resolution. However, extraordinary circumstances have demanded extraordinary action.
Lancium’s patent claims amount to an attempt to monopolize long-standing, publicly known tech and corner an entire regulatory sector. Its patent never should have been issued, and so long as it stands, miners who want to remain CLR compliant have no choice but to use Lancium’s products.
This is not competition. This is not good-faith regulatory cooperation. Most of all, this does not uphold the spirit of innovation that today’s cryptocurrency ecosystem—and Texas itself—was built on.
We are entering this fight to prove that all providers have the right to work with regulators, follow their regulations, and compete in the market without a cloud of litigation hanging over them. We are trying to stop the suffocation of a space that ERCOT itself wants to see grow, since by cooperating with CLRs it can better protect the grid from catastrophic surges like those seen in recent years.
If Lancium’s actions go unchecked, that cloud will spread—across the state, the nation, and everywhere that energy and cryptocurrency regulations meet. And while we’re all focused on Lancium’s impact on our mining industry, their patent, if left unchecked, affects all heavy energy users, such as data centers, manufacturers and other industries.
On behalf of our customers, our competitors, and our industry, we can’t let that happen. That’s why we filed this complaint, and that’s why we believe the court will see it for what it is: an assertion of plain justice, fair play, and common sense.
Stay tuned for more updates! If you have any questions, contact us on Discord, Twitter, or send us an email!
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