Norwegian solar panel maker REC has joined Chinese rivals Jinko Solar and Longi in rejecting allegations made by Korea’s Hanwha Q Cells that the three manufacturers infringed Hanwha patents related to solar cell passivation technologies.
“REC has learned from media reports circulating since March 5, that Hanwha Q-Cells has filed lawsuits against REC in the U.S. and in Germany based on alleged patent infringement, and has approached REC’s customers around the world with these accusations,” REC said in a statement.
The manufacturer said the legal action in Germany has not started yet, as court fees have not yet been paid by Hanwha. “As the court has not served the action, REC Group is unable to examine the alleged claims,” the company said. A spokeswoman from Germany’s Düsseldorf regional court confirmed the fees are still unpaid, adding: “This is the case in about 50% of cases, so not completely unusual.” A court official will set a deadline for Hanwha to pay the fees. Once they are settled, the case will be submitted to a judge, the spokeswoman added.
Hanwha Q-Cells told pv magazine it is now waiting for the court bill. “This is a normal procedure”, said a spokesman for the company.
REC Group this morning confirmed it had also not had any notification from the U.S. District Court in Delaware, in relation to one of the two lawsuits filed against it by Hanwha in the U.S. Regarding the second case, REC said the U.S. International Trade Commission had received an infringement complaint from Hanwha and had 30 days to carry out a preliminary investigation. If the ITC decides there is a case to answer, it will then contact REC.
Norway’s REC said it is investigating the matter and will take legal action against the Hanwha lawsuits. “As an innovative company which owns intellectual property rights, REC Group fully respects, and will respect, intellectual property rights and takes these allegations very seriously,” stated the manufacturer.
Hanwha has filed two patent infringement lawsuits against Jinko, Longi and REC. The German lawsuit concerns only Jinko and REC, the two legal actions in the U.S. are against all three defendants.
This article was amended on 08/03/19 to incorporate confirmation received from REC Group about the progress of the two lawsuits filed against it in the U.S.