Solar panel manufacturer Solaria announced today that it has won a patent infringement ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against competitor Canadian Solar.
Solaria reached out to the ITC in Sept. 2020, asking for a ruling on Solaria’s patented shingled module technology. According to the original complaint, Solaria claimed that Canadian Solar’s “HiDM” shingled modules infringe Solaria’s U.S. patents that cover tiled or “shingled” solar modules, as well as Solaria’s patented process for separating PV strips from solar cells for use in such modules. Solaria introduced the technology to Canadian Solar representatives, but a licensing deal was never established, and Canadian Solar began marketing its HiDM shingled modules in the United States.
The Judge assigned by the ITC to oversee Solaria’s lawsuit against Canadian Solar issued an Initial Determination finding that Canadian Solar violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, in its importation of shingled solar modules. The Judge’s ruling found a violation of U.S. Patent 10,651,333 and U.S. Patent 10,763,388.
The Judge’s determination demonstrates that Canadian Solar utilized Solaria’s innovations and technology without permission and in violation of U.S. patent law. In so finding, the Judge ruled against Canadian Solar’s claims that the patents were invalid and not infringed.
Solaria stated that it is confident the ITC will issue an exclusion order preventing Canadian Solar from importing and selling shingled modules in the United States.
“Solaria has over 250 patents and has invested more than $200 million in developing our advanced solar panel technology,” stated Solaria CEO Tony Alvarez. “Solaria is open to cooperating with companies that recognize the value of Solaria’s IP; we’ve licensed Solaria’s technology to other companies in the industry. However, when foreign companies such as Canadian Solar ignore American patents and violate our core IP, Solaria will actively defend our IP against any infringers, and protect our technology for ourselves and our valued partners.”
Canadian Solar released a response to the initial patent complaints in 2020. You can read that here.