USITC Begins Investigation Into Hanwha’s Patent Lawsuit

USITC Begins Investigation Into Hanwha’s Patent Lawsuit

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has acknowledged Hanwha’s request and is launching an investigation into the alleged patent infringement by Chinese companies JinkoSolar and Longi Solar as well as Norway’s REC Group.

Hanwha Q CELLS Module Test Center

The USITC’s chief administrative law judge will now assign the case to one of the administrative law judges (ALJ), who, in turn, will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The USITC said in a statement that it should set a target date for completing the investigation within 45 days of instituting the investigation.

The commission has identified six units of JinkoSolar, eight LONGi subsidiaries and three REC Group companies as respondents in this investigation.

Diversified Korean Group Hanwha division Hanwha Q Cells complained to the USITC on March 4, 2019, claiming that three companies practiced unlawful import and sale of patent-infringing PV cells and modules. The company now seeks an order to halt the importing, marketing and selling such products in the US.

Similar complaints were also filed with the US District Court for the District of Delaware against all three companies, as well as in Germany against certain entities of JinkoSolar and REC, and in Australia against some units of all three sector players along with two distributors, namely Sol Distribution and BayWa r.e. Solar Systems.

Hanwha said separately that this decision by the USITC signifies that its complaint satisfies the rigorous pleading requirements, including evidence of importation and alleged infringement.

“Ensuring strong protections for intellectual property signals to producers that it is worthwhile to undertake the R&D necessary to increase efficiency and lower the cost of solar energy,” commented Hee Cheul (Charles) Kim, CEO of Hanwha Q Cells & Advanced Materials Corp.

Hanwha Q Cells has a newly-inaugurated solar module assembly plant in Dalton, Georgia, that has an annual production capacity of 1.7 GW. The company says this facility is the largest of its kind in the west.

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