Maxeon sues Tongwei for patent infringement in Germany

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From pv magazine Global

Singapore-based Maxeon Solar Technologies has revealed that it has filed a patent infringement case against China-based Tongwei Solar and its German subsidiary, Tongwei Solar GmbH.

Maxeon said it filed the lawsuit with the Dusseldorf district court in Germany. It claims that Tongwei infringed on its European Patent No. EP3522045 B1 for shingled solar cell panel technology. Maxeon uses the tec in its Performance Line solar modules.

“The intellectual property behind our shingled solar cell technology is the outcome of investments and technical advancements, the resultant Performance Line outperforms conventional panels in efficiency, power, and reliability,” said Maxeon CEO Bill Mulligan. “In September 2020, Maxeon filed a lawsuit against Canadian Solar in Japan, which was subsequently settled in April 2022. With this latest filing against Tongwei Solar, Maxeon is continuing to vigorously enforce its valuable intellectual property rights to prohibit unauthorized use.”

The Performance Line PV panel architecture and manufacturing processes were pioneered by Cogenra Solar, a Silicon Valley startup that SunPower acquired in 2015. In the subsequent 2020 spinoff from SunPower, Maxeon retained the intellectual property associated with the solar cell and module technologies, as well as the SunPower brand in the more than 100 markets it serves, according to a company statement.

“We have instructed our local German attorneys to handle the Maxeon matters,” a spokesperson from Tongwei told pv magazine. “As committed, Tongwei fully supports our customers and has an open mind to collaborate with industry partners in developing clean energy for the whole world.”

The Chinese module maker claimed it is currently spending a lot of resources to develop the shingled module technology and production capabilities. “Since Tongwei started R&D on the shingled module technology, we have paid close attention to related patents – making sure we do not infringe other’s patent rights, as well as developing our own IP portfolio,” it explained. “Before we launched new products, systematic FTOs have been repeatedly carried out internally and by external IP firms. We firmly believe that we have differentiated our technology and products from our competitors.”

*The article was updated on June 16 to add a comment from Tongwei on the matter.

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