Update: SolarEdge files lawsuit against Huawei and German distributor Wattkraft

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Israel-headquartered power electronics and smart energy solutions, SolarEdge announced on June 19 that it has filed a lawsuit for patent infringement against Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, Huawei Technologies Düsseldorf GmbH, and Wattkraft Solar GmbH.

The lawsuit was filed with the Regional Court of Mannheim, asserting the use of patented technology from SolarEdge’s DC optimized inverter technology.

The inverter manufacturer is looking to receive monetary damages, an injunction, and recall of the infringing Huawei inverters from the German market. SolarEdge says it aims to prevent Huawei from selling any multi-level inverter infringing upon its protected inverter technology on the German market.

When asked by pv magazine whether SolarEdge seeks to file similar lawsuits in other jurisdictions, the company maintained its firm stance to protect its patents wherever they are violated.

SolarEdge added that Huawei is using the Israeli company’s HD-Wave inverter technology. HD-Wave is an important part of SolarEdge’s residential inverter offering. If Huawei is doing so, SolarEdge contends that the Chinese company has infringed on SolarEdge’s multi-level inverter topology.

In a statement to pv magazine, a spokesperson for Huawei said, “Huawei has just … been served with the complaint filed by SolarEdge, and is evaluating the claims. Huawei does not believe that it has infringed any valid patent rights of SolarEdge and, accordingly, will defend its rights vigorously.

“Huawei is always customer-centric and, together with our partners, will continuously invest in R&D and technology innovation, to accelerate the positive development of solar industry. If, to the extent that our customer receive any IP infringement assertion based on Huawei products delivered, Huawei will use every means to defend our products and protect our customers not to be affected by such assertions.”

Intellectual property

SolarEdge appears most concerned with intellectual property. “In our view, the size of the monetary damage is not the relevant point, but rather the fact that the PV industry can only advance with innovation,” said SolarEdge VP Market & Product Strategy Lior Handelsman. “If intellectual property is allowed to be copied and infringed, companies will not be able to invest in R&D. SolarEdge believes that companies who use other companies’ IP must be stopped.”

“The success of the entire PV industry has been and continues to be driven by innovative technology that makes PV energy more affordable and ubiquitous,” added Guy Sella, company CEO, chairman, and founder. “Such innovation requires significant financial investment and years of dedication and hard work from skilled R&D engineers. The PV industry cannot sustain such efforts under the constant threat of, in our view, illegal use of proprietary technology and we will not remain silent as our intellectual property is exploited.”

He continued, “SolarEdge’s patents and other intellectual property are the result of our relentless pursuit of innovation and commitment towards worldwide PV proliferation. In order to protect our intellectual property, we are taking legal action against Huawei and its distributor.”

This article was amended on 19/6/2018 to clarify that HD-Wave is SolarEdge technology, and to include a response from Huawei.