SolarEdge extends patent infringement lawsuit against Huawei

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SolarEdge has alleged Huawei is infringing intellectual property (IP) rights related to its power optimizer technology. The Israeli power electronics supplier announced it has extended its pending patent infringement lawsuit in the Mannheim District Court to include two more patents.

The claimant is seeking monetary damages, as well as an injunction on its Chinese rival in the German market. SolarEdge says it wants a recall of Huawei’s infringing power optimizers in the country. Asked  by pv magazine, a SolarEdge spokesperson specified that it believes that the patents EP 2 135 348 B1 and EP 2 859 650 B1 were infringed by Huawei.

“SolarEdge has strived to advance the PV industry by overcoming [the] limitations of standard PV systems through the introduction of its innovative DC optimization technology, in our view making solar energy more attractive and accessible,” said Guy Sella, CEO, Chairman, and founder.

“These advancements, resulting from dedication, engineering expertise and significant investment in R&D, can only achieve their full potential when safeguarded by an industry that respects healthy and fair competition. What we view as illegal use of proprietary technology can stifle the solar industry during this critical period of global energy transformation. Our actions are meant to ensure the integrity of the entire PV industry, secure a level playing field, and protect SolarEdge’s intellectual property.”

Huawei responded on August 2, stating, “While Huawei is still evaluating the claims, it does not believe that it has infringed any valid patent rights of SolarEdge. Huawei will take all necessary steps to defend itself and its customers, including legal action where necessary.”

June allegations

On June 19, SolarEdge announced it had filed a lawsuit in the Mannheim District Court alleging Huawei had used its patented HD-Wave technology for residential inverters. The defendants in the lawsuit are Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., a Chinese entity; Huawei Technologies Düsseldorf GmbH, a German organisation; and Wattkraft Solar GmbH, a German distributor for Huawei.

In an interview with pv magazine in June, Lior Handelsman – SolarEdge’s founder and VP for Marketing and Product Strategy – specified which part of his company’s technology he believes has been infringed by Huawei: “We use a topology that is a modification of the multi-level topology with an adaptation for low voltage systems, and we actually have several patents for that,” he said. “It is one or two out of 170 patents we have on optimizers and inverters in PV systems.”

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

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

This article was updated on August 2 to include comment from Huawei.