Maxeon Solar Technologies Ltd. received a positive patent validity decision in a patent nullity suit filed in China by LONGi Green Energy Technology Co. Ltd., a Chinese solar manufacturer.
The lawsuit is against one of Maxeon's patents covering its proprietary and fundamental clapboard solar cell technology that uses solar panels that Maxeon designs and sells under the SunPower Performance brand.
In May, the Chinese Intellectual Property Agency (CNIPA) accepted a license from LONGi Green Energy Technology Co. Ltd. submitted application to invalidate the Maxeon patent for high-efficiency clapboard solar cell modules (China patent No. 201710523237.1). After an oral hearing in October, CNIPA reviewed LONGi's nullity claims and dozens of prior art documents, and ultimately concluded that Maxeon's patent is valid. This decision by CNIPA reaffirms Maxeon's intellectual property rights in China for shingle solar cell technology.
“This decision is an important confirmation of the strength of our patents and the underlying innovation behind our performance panels,” said Jeff Waters, CEO of Maxeon Solar Technologies. “This technology is protected by an international portfolio of more than 150 patents and patent applications covering the design of shingle solar cells and panels as well as key manufacturing tools and processes. We are very aware of the importance of safeguarding and protecting our intellectual property rights. Intellectual property compliance is critical to the proper advancement of the solar industry. “
Flaky solar cell panels are made by separating solar cells into smaller solar cell strips and then joining the resulting solar cell strips in an overlapping layout using a conductive adhesive. The result is a panel with higher performance and higher efficiency with improved reliability and durability compared to conventional panels.
The performance clapboard solar cell panel architecture and manufacturing processes were developed by Silicon Valley-based start-up Cogenra Solar. SunPower Corp. acquired Cogenra in 2015 and Maxeon retained the IP rights to the shingle technology after spinning off from SunPower in August. Performance solar modules are made in China by Huansheng Photovoltaic (Jiangsu) Co. Ltd., Maxeon's joint venture with Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co. Ltd. With more than 3 GW in over 60 countries, performance modules are the most frequently used shingles in the solar cell panel technology industry.
Photo: Landing page from Maxeon Solar