A source close to the matter told pv magazine Korean solar manufacturer Hanwha Q Cells was granted permission, on June 11, to seize an unspecified volume of Longi products in order to prevent their distribution in suspected infringement of Hanwha patents.
The patent dispute relates to a decision by the Dusseldorf Regional Court in June last year that Longi, and Chinese co-defendants JinkoSolar and REC Solar, had infringed Hanwha's patented passivation solar cell technology. That decision, which is being appealed by the defendants, came after Hanwha had lodged patent infringement claims against the trio in the German court in March 2019.
As a result, pv magazine‘s source said yesterday, Hanwha secured permission in the Dutch legal system to seize the shipment last month as a “measure for preserving evidence.” The Korean company persuaded lawmakers the panels might be distributed in markets where its European patent applies.
Hanwha is understood to have offered to restore the panels to Longi upon receipt of proof they would not be distributed in markets where the Korean company's patent is in force. pv magazine‘s source said Longi is understood to have written to customers in the U.K. and Germany, as well as in Poland, stating their panels will be delayed as they have been seized by Hanwha.
With Longi said to have been preparing to put its case in the Dutch court system yesterday, Hanwha is thought to be likely to request a cross-border injunction which would seek to preserve the legal decisions made in one European nation being breached in neighboring states.
This copy was amended on 20/07/21 to reflect the fact the panels were seized to prevent their distribution in nations where Hanwha’s European technology patent applies, rather than in nations where the ruling in Dusseldorf has force, as previously stated, as the Dusseldorf ruling applies only in Germany. The date of permission being granted to make the seizure was June 11, not June 16, as previously reported.
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