Longi wins US patent invalidation case against Korea's Hanwha
The US Patent and Trademark Office. Author: Alan Kotok. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Longi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd (SHA:601012), or Longi Solar, announced today that the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has issued a decision that favours the Chinese solar module maker in its patent invalidation case against Hanwha Q Cells.
The court has upheld the US Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) previous "Invalidation Decision" in relation to Hanwha's US patent US9893215B2, Longi Solar said in a statement, adding that it has now won both the International Trade Commission (ITC) litigation and the patent invalidation case (IPR) against Hanwha in the US.
The two parties have been in a legal battle over patents since 2019, when Hanwha filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the Chinese firm, Norway’s REC and JinkoSolar in Europe, the US and Australia.
The European cases are ongoing too and, according to Longi, the specialised Court in Paris ruled earlier in the week that the South Korean company had illegally seized documents and materials from Longi in France last year. More specifically, the court has determined that Hanwha had acted in a disloyal manner by withholding crucial information from it. The Korean company has been ordered to release and recall all of these documents and materials, unless the French judgment is appealed and set aside.
Longi added that the non-infringement and invalidity proceedings in Australia between the two are currently in the stage of evidence exchange and argument defence. The judge is tentatively scheduled to hear the case in the final quarter of the year.
Meanwhile, the Chinese company has filed an opposition to the European Patent Office (EPO) contesting the validity of the equivalent Europe patent EP2220689B1. This opposition is still pending.
Earlier this month, Qcells announced that the Court of Appeal of The Hague in the Netherlands had confirmed the scope and target of a recall order imposed on the Dutch unit of Longi Solar as a result of the outcome of the legal dispute between the two. The ruling means that Longi (Netherlands) Trading BV, or Longi NL, is obliged to send a recall letter to its customers in 11 European countries and request that they return patent-infringing products sold by it.