The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company Solar3D Inc. has filed a patent application in China to protect the design and fabrication of its next-generation 3-D solar cells. The company’s solar cell design traps sunlight inside microphotovoltaic structures, where photons bounce around until they are converted into electrons, resulting in high efficiency and light collection throughout the day. Initial tests using the proof-of-concept prototype proved encouraging, the company said. It will now develop an advanced manufacturing prototype, execute a pilot production run, and identify a fabrication partner to mass-produce and commercialize the device. In early April, Cognex Corp. of Natick, Mass., announced it filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Microscan Systems Inc. in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Cognex alleges that Microscan’s Mobile Hawk, a handheld product used to read direct part mark (DPM) codes, infringes a patent held by Cognex. The lawsuit seeks to prohibit Microscan of Renton, Wash., from using Cognex’s patented technology in its products, and to recover damages resulting from the infringement. BugLab LLC of Concord, Calif., has received a US patent for noninvasive optical monitoring technology that measures biomass in small fluid volumes, eliminating the time, labor, contamination risk and inaccuracy associated with sampling and dilutions. The patent includes techniques for measuring particle backscatter using light at wavelengths that travel only a limited distance into culture media, enabling scientists to make accurate measurements in shake flasks with BugLab’s OD scanner. The handheld sensor could be used for biopharmaceutical research and production, academic and industrial microbiology, industrial brewing and biofuels research.