On 7th October, lawsuits were filed by SolarEdge in the Regional Courts of Jinan and Shenzhen in China, citing unauthorised use of patented technology. SolarEdge claimed this action was necessary to protect its significant investment DC optimised inverter technology and it is seeking damages and an injunction. The lawsuits followed the filing of three other lawsuits in Germany by SolarEdge in June and July 2018 against Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., a Chinese entity, Huawei Technologies Düsseldorf GmbH, a German entity, and WATTKRAFT Solar GmbH, a German distributor relating to three patents.
“SolarEdge spends considerable time and resources on developing innovative technology and this investment needs to be protected” said Zvi Lando, Acting CEO and VP Global Sales of SolarEdge. “Our industry is driven by innovation which over the past decade has made PV energy more affordable and more efficient. The significant financial investment and years of dedication and hard work from our R&D engineers needs to be protected from exploitation. SolarEdge’s patents are the result of our relentless pursuit of innovation and commitment towards PV proliferation. We will continue to take legal action against Huawei and others to protect our assets.”
However, a spokesperson from Huawei has claimed that it has not actually received any documents from the court relating to these lawsuits, and that for this reason is inconvenient to comment on the lawsuit itself. Huawei insists that the company will continue providing customers with leading products and services and that its business operations will not be adversely affected by the case.
Huawei has also pointed out that it officially submitted three patent infringement lawsuits to SolarEdge in China’s Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court in May 2019. These lawsuits involved patent technologies such as inverter voltage adjustment and optimizer control. The company has requested the court to order SolarEdge's wholly-owned subsidiaries located in Shanghai and Guangzhou, as well as SolarEdge's largest original equipment manufacturer Jabil Circuit (Guangzhou) Co., Ltd., to immediately cease patent infringement including but not limited to manufacturing, using, selling, and offering for sale products involved in the infringement and to compensate Huawei for the corresponding economic losses.
Huawei was ranked as No.1 in global inverter shipments from 2015 to 2018 based on the report released by global consultancy IHS Markit. After SolarEdge initiated the lawsuit against the company last year, Huawei actively responded, choosing to defend its legal rights and interests. The company is confident that the European and Chinese legal systems will eventually settle the dispute fairly.
“After more than 30 years of development and practice, Huawei is deeply aware that only by fully respecting and protecting intellectual property rights can we continuously improve enterprise innovation capabilities and product competitiveness, create greater value for customers, and promote technological progress and social development” the Huawei spokesperson said.