The latest SolarEdge claim relates to patents the Israeli company has filed for its power optimizer technology, while the first claim submitted in June relates to multi-level inverter topology IP. In its August 2nd statement responding to the latest SolarEdge claim, Huawei made it clear, that while it is still evaluating the claims, it does not believe that it has infringed any valid patent rights of SolarEdge. It will also take all necessary steps to defend itself and its customers, including legal action where necessary.
In its comments to pv magazine regarding this latest development in the manufacturers' legal dispute, the Chinese manufacturing giant reiterated its commitment to R&D and its track record of patents.
The company reports it has established 14 R&D centers, along with dozens of laboratories and joint innovation centers across 18 countries. According to its account, 45% of Huawei’s employees – 80,000 people by last year's figures – are employed in R&D.
A Huawei spokesperson added 10% of the company's annual revenues are invested in R&D. These expenditures have resulted in Huawei topping the list of patent applications at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), says the company.
Huawei says it has 74,307 global patent applications in various markets, underscoring its claim to be one of the largest intellectual property rights owners. As a leading manufacturer of IT and telecommunications equipment, both for carriers and end-users, PV-related IP forms only one part of Huawei's patent portfolio.
The company also highlights its customer-centric approach. Accordingly, its August 2nd statement states that “Huawei highly values its relationships with all its customers and will work continuously to improve them. As a global leader in the PV industry, our success is derived from a customer-centric business strategy, based on continuous innovation designed to deliver the most competitive products and solutions to our valued customers.”
On the solar PV side, the manufacturer has been ranked as the world's leading supplier of solar inverters (in terms of units shipped) in each of the past three years.
As pv magazine reported in April, GTM Research ranked Huawei first for global inverter shipments last year; however, the same publication's report in 2016 saw SMA top the ranking.
GTM Research Senior Analyst Scott Moskovitz highlighted more than half of the global inverter market in 2017 was due to the tremendous pace at which China continued installations. The market was over 50 GW of a global industry just short of 100 GW. With the latest announcement from China to reduce installations, and the looming threat of 25% tariffs on Chinese-made inverters in the U.S. market, the situation could be very different in the months ahead.