PVTIME – On July 12, 2021, the final decision of the US court of appeals for the federal circuit upheld the ITC’s original decision (No. 337-TA-1151). This once again confirmed that LONGi’s products did not infringe on Hanwha Q-Cells’ US Patent 9,893,215B2, which fully consistent with LONGi’s understanding of this patent. It follows LONGi’s earlier success in invalidating this patent in another IPR proceeding of Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
At the same time, LONGi firmly believes that the relevant products do not infringe the European patent EP2220689B1 within one patent family. Before this, LONGi has also filed an opposition to the patent’s validity with the European Patent Office, and this opposition procedure is still pending.
In addition, USPTO issued a final written decision on an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding on June 28, 2021, declaring all of the patent claims in Hanwha Q-Cells’ another U.S. Patent 8,933,525B2 to be invalid (IPR2020-00353). The patent attempts to cover a specific type of PERC solar cell with a three-layer passivation structure, including a chemical passivation layer, a field-effect passivation layer, and a silicon nitride cover layer. The field-effect passivation layer contains aluminum oxide. Although this patent has been filed and was granted in many countries previously, it was considered to be obvious and not novel based on the analysis of LONGi’s IP team, which filed an invalidity procedure with evidence in a number of countries. The USPTO agreed with LONGi that all of the claims in Hanwha Q-Cells’ patent do not fulfill several legal requirements and are unpatentable.
These decisions are welcome news for LONGi and also for the industry. LONGi respects legitimate intellectual property rights, and understands that valid patents play an important role in technological progress. At the same time, invalid patents, and attempts to enforce such patents, negatively affect both the industry and the enterprises involved.
Accordingly, LONGi will continue to resist baseless assertions of patent infringement and will continue to invest in the fight against invalid patents.