Case Study
October 19, 2016

Electricity in the Air

Sending electricity without wires? Goodwin client WiTricity is doing just that, commercializing a breakthrough technology that safely and effectively transmits electricity through the air. The approach has applications across a host of industries, including automotive giant Toyota, which plans to use it to charge its line of electric vehicles.

Client Challenge

Marin Soljačić was jolted awake yet again by the chirp of a cell phone in need of charging. “There is electricity wired all through this house … this phone should take care of its own charging!” he thought. Soljačić and physicists at MIT studied how loosely coupled resonators could exchange energy efficiently, while interacting only weakly with people, furniture and walls. After proving it on paper, they conducted experiments. Eureka! Two electro-magnetic resonators coupled through a magnetic field allowed electricity to travel across thin air. In 2007, Soljačić and his team founded WiTricity, a company that sought to revolutionize power delivery.

Our Approach

Having patented and tested its technology, WiTricity turned to Goodwin when it was time to license it to customers. Toyota was seeking a wireless charging platform for its rechargeable hybrid electric and battery-powered vehicles. A cross-practice, cross-office team of Goodwin attorneys worked closely with WiTricity to develop a licensing agreement allowing Toyota to quickly begin moving the technology toward production.

The Result

WiTricity’s wireless charging system gave Toyota a platform to charge a vehicle simply by parking in a dedicated space. No long cords. No plugs. WiTricity’s wireless charging system will help promote the widespread adoption of electric powered vehicles. From phones, drones and cars to medical devices and industrial applications, WiTricity’s technology has the potential to change how we power and charge everything around us, impacting how we live, work and move.