With Hanwha Q-Cells in the summer securing a ruling in Düsseldorf that three Chinese competitors had infringed one of its patents on their panels, the Korean manufacturer today moved to enforce the decision against Jinko Solar, which it claims has failed to comply.
In June, the regional court of Düsseldorf agreed with Hanwha's claim rivals Jinko Solar, Longi Solar and REC Group had infringed its EP 2 220 689 European patent, which relates to passivation technology the firms had claimed was generic.
The German court on September 28 began regulatory action to fix an administrative fine on Jinko, at Hanwha's request. Hanwha today said it had filed for administrative proceedings related to the orders and claimed violations by Jinko Solar.
France and Spain
The Korean company announced its intent to expand its patent claim to other European territories, citing France and Spain as examples, and said it planned to file for damages against Jinko and reserved the right to take further action against Longi and REC.
“Jinko's failure to comply with the law and the court ruling leaves Q-Cells with no choice but to take further action against Jinko, which does not respect the value of intellectual property rights,” said Hanwha chief technology officer Daniel Jeong. The Hanwha representative said intellectual property protection is more important than ever in the rapidly developing solar industry, and added: “We must maintain fair competition in our industry. This is a prerequisite for the next generation of technological innovations to emerge from genuine, long-term efforts in research and development. Q-Cells is taking these measures against Jinko in order to vigorously protect our intellectual property and to exercise the rights granted to us by the Düsseldorf Regional Court.”
The three manufacturers have appealed against the Düsseldorf ruling made on June 16, with the appeal yet to be heard. There is also a pending challenge against the validity of the Hanwha patent concerned, at the European Patent Office.
pv magazine has approached Jinko Solar for comment.
Hanwha pursued similar patent claims in the U.S. and Australia last year, against the same defendants in the former case and also against distributors Sol Distribution and Baywa re in Australia. Jinko announced the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in June decided it had not infringed Hanwha's U.S. patent. The Chinese company said an investigation into the validity of the patent had been opened by the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board in December. Hanwha announced an intent to appeal the ITC decision at the time.
REC Group in May said it had opened its own patent claim against Hanwha technology in China, in a case it said related to “split-cell and junction box technology.”
This copy was amended on 20/10/20 to reflect the latest action by Hanwha is against Jinko Solar only and relates to enforcement of the June ruling against the manufacture, sale, import and distribution of infringing products, rather than to the recall of infringing products, as previously stated. The action begun by Düsseldorf Regional Court on September 28 related to a request by Hanwha to fix an administrative fine on Jinko Solar.
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