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Energy Conversion Devices Announces Sale Of Cobasys To SB LiMotive

July 13, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) announced that its subsidiary, Ovonic Battery Company, Inc. (OBC), and Chevron Technology Ventures LLC (CTV) have sold their respective membership interests in Cobasys LLC to SB LiMotive Co. Ltd. (SBL).

Cobasys designs, develops and manufactures integrated energy storage systems principally for hybrid electric vehicles. Certain elements of Cobasys’ nickel metal hydride technology rely on patents originated by OBC and ECD. SBL is a joint venture between Samsung SDI Co., Ltd. and Robert Bosch GmbH formed to develop, manufacture, and sell batteries for automotive applications.

Prior to the sale, Cobasys assigned to OBC and CTV the right to receive 20% and 80%, respectively, of future royalties payable to Cobasys by Panasonic EV Energy Co., Ltd. (PEVE) under a patent license agreement that provides for royalties through 2014. Royalties totaling approximately $6.5 million received by Cobasys since January 2008 under this license agreement were also distributed to OBC and CTV, with OBC receiving approximately $1.3 million. In addition, Cobasys restructured its intellectual property licenses with ECD and OBC so that OBC has royalty-free, exclusive rights to the technology for defined non-transportation uses and Cobasys has royalty-free exclusive rights for defined transportation uses.

The transaction coincides with settlement of a pending lawsuit against Cobasys filed in August 2008 by Mercedes Benz U.S. International, Inc. (MBUSI). In connection with settling the lawsuit, OBC paid MBUSI $1.1 million from the $1.3 million in royalties distributed to it by Cobasys and entered into a mutual release with MBUSI of all Cobasys-related claims.

In connection with these transactions, CTV and OBC and ECD settled and jointly dismissed their pending arbitration without any finding of financial liability. The parties entered into mutual releases and agreed to the terms of the Cobasys sale transaction.