German court rules in favor of Huawei on one of two SolarEdge patent claims

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With the German regional court that is conducting two patent claims made by Israeli inverter maker SolarEdge against Chinese manufacturer Huawei having ruled in favor of the Chinese company in one suit, Huawei has claimed the decision to defer a hearing on the second case was made because of a lack of evidence to support that claim.

On November 19, Mannheim Regional Court ruled Huawei had not committed patent infringement in relation to one of the two claims, and a court representative has told pv magazine the second case will be heard by January 7. “The judge declared that Huawei did not infringe on the patent relating to optimizer and inverter architecture and dismissed SolarEdge’s lawsuit directly,” announced Huawei in a statement this morning.

The European Patent Office (EPO) on Thursday responded to a patent opposition case lodged by Huawei against SolarEdge in relation to inverter multi-level topology. “The EPO decided that the SolarEdge patent did not involve an inventive step and the grant of the patent is revoked,” the Chinese manufacturer said.

SolarEdge statement

In response, Lior Handelsman, SolarEdge’s VP of Marketing and Product Strategy, told pv magazine: “We are confident in our ability to protect our technology innovations and will continue to do so. Patent infringement proceedings are a marathon, not a sprint, and almost always go through at least two to three instances in Germany.”

Handelsman said the company is not happy with court’s conclusions and said it can appeal the decision to the Appeals Court. “We were encouraged by the second hearing in which the first-instance court indicated that they will appoint a court expert to analyze Huawei’s devices,” added the SolarEdge representative.

Patent appeal

SolarEdge said it is also planning to challenge the EPO patent decision. “With a patent innovation program, we have a strong portfolio with more than 300 patents and another 200 in the pipeline and a team of patent engineers,” said the company spokesperson. “We will continue to defend heavy R&D investment from exploitation of intellectual property and technology.”

The first of the two lawsuits, which relates to Solaredge’s DC-optimized inverter technology, was filed by the Israeli company with the Mannheim court in June last year. The second case, which consists of two additional proceedings at the same court, alleges Huawei infringed two more SolarEdge patents and was presented by the Israeli company a month later.

In early October, SolarEdge filed three additional lawsuits for patent infringement against Huawei in the regional courts of Jinan and Shenzhen in China. At the same time, Huawei revealed it had submitted three patent litigation cases against SolarEdge in the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court in China, alleging its rival had violated Huawei patents on inverter voltage adjustment and optimizer control solutions.

This article was amended on 27/11/19 to add details confirmed by Mannheim Regional Court.