USPTO LINK — Method and apparatus for controlling and determining the status of electrical devices from remote locations
It was filed by Lutron on Feb., 07 1996 and was granted.
Claim 1 (out of 170 claims total!)
- Apparatus for controlling at least one electrical device by remote control comprising:
at least one control device coupled to the electrical device by a wire connection for providing power to the electrical device, the control device having a controllably conductive device for adjusting the status of said electrical device, the control device further having a manual actuator for adjusting the status of the electrical device, the control device further having a radio frequency transmitter/receiver and antenna coupled thereto for adjusting the status of the electrical device in response to control information in a radio frequency signal, the transmitter/receiver being coupled to the antenna of the control device for receiving the radio frequency signal and for transmitting a status radio frequency signal having status information therein regarding the status of the electrical device as affected by the control information and the manual actuator;
a master control unit having at least one actuator and status indicator thereon, the master unit comprising a transmitter/receiver for transmitting a radio frequency signal having the control information therein to control the status of said at least one electrical device and for receiving the status information from the control device, the status indicator indicating the status of the electrical device in response to the status information; and
a repeater transmitter/receiver for receiving the radio frequency signal from the master unit and transmitting the control information to the control device and for receiving the status information from the control device and transmitting the status information to the master unit.
Lutron is using that patent to sue many competitors implementing devices with two-way radio. Latest development is [Lutron vs Crestron case] http://www.cepro.com/article/lutron_sues_crestron_three_dealers_for_patent_infringement_on_lighting_cont/.
Is this patent too broad to be enforced?