JA Solar issues strong response to IP theft allegations

JA Solar has described statements by SolarWorld in hearings conducted last year in the U.S., in which the company is alleged to have benefitted from hacking and industrial espionage, as “meritless and unsupported”.

The response relates to testimony provided by SolarWorld Americas CEO, Jürgen Stein, given in a hearing conducted as part of a USTR investigation into China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

USTR describes this act as a “key enforcement tool that may be used to address a wide variety of unfair acts, policies, and practices of U.S. trading partners.”

At the hearing, Stein alleged that SolarWorld’s IT system was accessed 13 times between May and September 2012, by what he describes as “Chinese military hackers”, and that proprietary data obtained through this helped Chinese module manufacturers, including JA Solar, to greatly speed up their adoption of PERC production technology.

In May 2014, a grand jury indicted five agents of China’s People’s Liberation Army with hacking into computers owned by several U.S. companies, among them SolarWorld.

The indictment goes on to state that information gained from the hacking was turned over to Chinese state-owned enterprises, and in his testimony at the hearing conducted in October 2017, Stein drew links between this and the rapid adoption of PERC technology by Chinese manufacturers, including JA Solar.

“These allegations are baseless, purely speculation or imagination, erroneous and mistaken if not knowingly false,” stated JA Solar CTO, Wei Shan, in response to the statements made by Stein, which are published in the findings of the USTR investigation, dated March 22, 2018.

“JA Solar has engaged in hard work and independent research and development of our PERC cell technology, beginning as early as 2009.  We view these statements of SolarWorld as meritless and unsupported and firmly believe that such statements will not withstand any level of scrutiny.  The substantial investments in the research and development of our technology are solely responsible for our successes.”