Hanwha Q Cells announces another favorable ruling in patent dispute with Longi in the Netherlands

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From pv magazine Germany

South Korea-based photovoltaic manufacturer Hanwha Q Cell has revealed that the Dutch Court of Appeal in The Hague has issued a ruling confirming the cross-border injunction against the Dutch subsidiary of Chinese module manufacturer Longi — Longi (Netherlands) Trading B.V. — which was decided by the District Court of Rotterdam on March 15, 2022.

The injunction provided that Longi Solar's Dutch subsidiary may not encourage customers to infringe the EP ‘689 patent in countries where Hanwha Solutions Corporation is the registered owner. Longi Netherlands is not allowed to offer for sale, sell or distribute the modules related to the patent litigation in Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Austria, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Hanwha Q-Cells had sued Longi and other manufacturers for patent infringement of its solar cell passivation technology. The new ruling follows Longi's appeal against Hanwha Q-Cells' first favorable ruling in November 2021.

“Longi NL sought to establish, through execution proceedings, that its recall obligations are only applicable to products held in stock for future sales,” Hanwha Q Cells said in a statement. “The Preliminary Relief Judge of the Rotterdam District Court and The Hague Court of Appeal disagreed and ruled that the recall measure also applies to all products that infringe EP ’689 and that are professionally used by Longi NL’s customers. The infringing products are Longi solar modules of the Hi-M03, Hi-M03m, Hi-M04, Hi M04m, Hi-M05, and Hi-M05m types (except for products referred to by HIH, HIB, and HIBD).”

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According to Hanwha Q-Cells, it is clear after the most recent decision that Longi NL must extend the recall campaign to all of its customers, such as PV product distributors, installers, project developers and plant operators, that purchased or use corresponding modules covered by the patent dispute. “Longi NL’s customers may return the infringing products at Longi NL’s expenses for an immediate refund of the purchase price,” the Korean manufacturer stated, noting that, if necessary, further legal action would be taken.

A pv magazine request for comment from Longi about the ruling has so far remained unanswered.

The patent dispute between the photovoltaic manufacturers dates back to spring 2019. In March 2019, Hanwha Q-Cells filed a patent infringement lawsuit in both Germany and the United States, and shortly afterward in Australia, against Longi, REC and a third defendent, JinkoSolar. According to the company, its three competitors illegally used its patented technology in their products. In June 2020, the Regional Court of Düsseldorf in Germany ruled in favor of Hanwha Q-Cells in the first instance. REC and Longi Solar appealed against the decision, whereupon Hanwha Q-Cells initiated the preliminary enforcement of the decision. In Hanwha Q-Cells' view, Longi Solar and REC did not take sufficient measures to comply with the court-ordered recall obligation.

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