REC Group Wins Patent Infringement Case Filed by Hanwha Q Cells

The US ITC had issued its Final Determination that REC Group’s products do not infringe the asserted claims of Hanwha Q-Cells’ US Patent 9,893,215

The REC Group, an international pioneering solar energy brand with Scandinavian heritage, has reported that on June 3, 2020, the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) had issued its Final Determination that REC Group’s products do not infringe the asserted claims of Hanwha Q-Cells’ US Patent 9,893,215 (‘215 patent). The Final Determination affirms the Initial Determination (Order No. 40) by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) dated April 10, 2020.

The Final Determination also terminated the investigation, which began when Hanwha Q-Cells filed a complaint in the ITC against REC Group, JinkoSolar and LONGi Solar in March 2019. The ITC found no violation by REC Group’s accused solar cells in REC TwinPeak panels based on clear differences between the cell structure claimed in the patent and REC Group’s accused products. Previously, the ALJ’s Initial Determination also confirmed that REC Group’s N-Peak and Alpha solar cell technologies do not infringe the asserted claims of the ‘215 patent.

For context, on April 10, 2020, the Administrative Law Judge in the 1151 Investigation had ruled that JinkoSolar’s products do not infringe the ‘215 patent. ALJ MaryJoan McNamara issued an initial determination granting JinkoSolar’s motion for summary determination of non-infringement.

In December 2019, the US Patent and Trademark Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted inter parties review (IPR) proceedings of the patentability of claims 12-14 of the ‘215 patent claims in view of the prior art. IPR is a trial proceeding conducted at the PTAB to review the patentability of one or more claims in a patent. The PTAB’s institution decision states that JinkoSolar and REC Group have “established a reasonable likelihood of prevailing in showing that claims 12-14 of the ‘215 patent are unpatentable.”

Steve O’Neil, CEO of REC Group said “since the ITC investigation began, we have believed that Hanwha Q-Cells’ accusations against us were without technical and legal merits. We are pleased to be vindicated by the ALJ’s decision on summary determination earlier this year and the ITC’s affirmation of that decision now.”

Earlier, we had reported that Chinese solar PV cells and modules manufacturer, JinkoSolar had also received a favourable final determination from the US ITC, concluding that JinkoSolar’s products do not infringe a patent asserted by Hanwha Q CELLS.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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