Hanwha Q Cells, the photovoltaic solar panel manufacturing arm of South Korea’s Hanwha Group, is suing JinkoSolar, LONGi Solar, and REC Group over patent infringements in the US and in Germany. The manufacturer is alleging the Chinese competitors’ are using its patented passivation technology unlawfully and seeks to ban the import of its competitors’ products in both markets.
The company filed a patent lawsuit with the US International Trade Commission ("ITC") and the US District Court for the District of Delaware, against all three companies through its Hanwha Q Cells USA and Hanwha Q Cells & Advanced Materials Corp.Inc. In Germany its Hanwha Q CELLS GmbH unit filed patent infringements in the Regional Court of Dusseldorf against JinkoSolar and REC Group.
"Intellectual property laws exist to incentivize innovation and protect inventions from being unfairly used, and we will vigorously defend our technology from infringement," said Hee Cheul (Charles) Kim, Chief Executive Officer of Hanwha Q Cells & Advanced Materials Corp. "Our high-quality photovoltaic products have established us as an industry leader, and we are proud of our legacy of innovation. We have taken these actions both to protect our property rights and to give the market confidence that research and development initiatives to develop future technologies can continue."
It also came to light that Hanwha has started to produce panels at its Dalton, GA, facility. The same week that JinkoSolar announced it’s now producing solar panels at its plant in Jacksonville, FL.
In its suits Hanwha alleged that the other Chinese-solar manufacturers are using its passivation technology in their solar cells, which has helped the company improve the efficiency and performance of its solar panels. The company said it began manufacturing solar cells with the technology in 2012 and that the other companies have infringed on the technology without license agreements in at least the past year.
"The passivation technology at issue in these legal actions is critical to Hanwha Q Cells's plans for the future. Our high-efficiency modules rely on this patented technology and set us apart from competitors. We have built a new 1.7-gigawatt facility in Dalton, Georgia, dedicated to assembling Hanwha Q Cells’s modules for sale in the United States, and we look forward to a long relationship with the Dalton community,” Kim said. “This is the largest factory of its kind in the western hemisphere and reflects our commitment to the United States and the important markets here. We believe that the legal actions we have taken in the United States and Germany will effectively protect our ability to innovate and reinforce our reputation as a leading supplier of high-quality products and a trusted business partner to our customers."
Both Hanwha and JinkoSolar announced US manufacturing facilities after the Trump Administration imposed tariffs on solar panels imported from Asia, causing job losses in the US. SunPower also increased US manufacturing last year.Tweet