REC Group has released a response on the reports that Hanwha Q CELLS has filed patent infringement lawsuits against the Norwegian solar panel manufacturer in U.S. and German courts. Like JinkoSolar, REC Group said it learned about the lawsuits through media reports.
“A preliminary investigation with Germany’s regional Dusseldorf court on March 6, 2019 reveals that court fees have not been paid by Hanwha Q CELLS,” REC said in a statement. “Therefore, the action has not officially commenced in Germany. As the Court has not served the action, REC Group is unable to examine the alleged claims.”
Hanwha Q CELLS claims that JinkoSolar, LONGi Solar and REC Group are unlawfully importing and selling solar cells and modules that infringe Hanwha Q CELLS’s patented passivation technology, which can be applied to various types of solar cells, including PERC cells. Hanwha Q CELLS said it began manufacturing Q.ANTUM solar cells using this passivation technology in 2012. REC Group was the first mainstream solar panel company to introduce half-cut cells with backside passivation for mass production back in 2014.
“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,” the company said. “REC Group is investigating the matter and working closely with its legal counsel, and will take all necessary steps to rigorously defend itself, its customers and its partners.”
March 8, 2019 update
Official statement from Hanwha Q CELLS:
“The patent claims asserted by Hanwha Q CELLS are not restricted to any particular method of manufacture, such as atomic layer deposition (ALD) or plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). The infringement claims relating to the ‘215 patent are directed to solar cell structure with a first dielectric layer including aluminum oxide and a second dielectric layer that contains hydrogen. The patented technology can be applied in many ways. A solar cell employing what is known as Passivated Emitter Rear Cell (PERC) technology is only one type of solar cell that may use technology covered by the ‘215 patent.
While Hanwha Q CELLS believes it is important to clarify these factual issues, it does not intend to litigate this dispute in the media or to comment further on the substantive legal issues in the case. We look forward to proving our claims in court.”