Nextracker, a Flex company, has settled its patent-infringement lawsuit against Northern States Metals Company (NSM), which conducts its solar energy business under the name Solar FlexRack. Nextracker filed suit in federal court on June 25, 2020, in a matter titled “NEXTracker, Inc. v. Solar FlexRack and Northern States Metals Company,” (Case No. 1:20-cv-00849-MN [Delaware]).
The lawsuit alleges that Solar FlexRack infringed on patents related to single-axis tracker design with its TDP-2.0 solar tracker. In one section, Nextracker claims that “TDP-2.0 solar trackers in fact bear a striking resemblance to NEXTracker’s own patented solar trackers.”
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Solar FlexRack will pay Nextracker royalties on qualifying sales revenue of Solar FlexRack’s TDP 2.0 solar tracker and certain related products, services and components. Other terms of the settlement were not disclosed, according to a press release.
“Nextracker treats its intellectual property very seriously, and we will vigorously defend our patent rights in all global markets in which we conduct business,” said Dan Shugar, Nextracker CEO. “We are pleased to reach an acceptable resolution to this litigation and look forward to our new commercial relationship with Solar FlexRack.”
Solar FlexRack published a press release denying any patent infringement, stating: “The settlement agreement provides for only nominal payments by NSM, which NSM agreed to pay in order to avoid a protracted legal process.” With settling, the company dismissed a separate lawsuit in the United States Patent and Trademark Office that tried to invalidate certain patent rights Nextracker held related to the initial lawsuit.
“We were surprised that Nextracker issued a press release disclosing confidential court-protected information. Our company has always operated with integrity and throughout the legal proceedings, Solar FlexRack has denied any wrongdoing. We decided to settle in order to avoid wasting time, money and energy, which could all be better spent serving our customers and the solar industry” said Ken Mack, CEO at Solar FlexRack. “Our focus is on our commitment to our customers and the solar industry.”
News item from Nextracker