Precious metal and technology group Heraeus issued the following statement today in response to a recent DuPont press release:
“Our unique silver technology has changed the way cell producers view the metallization component of solar cells, and our customers understand that we bring great value to the PV industry. We plan to continue to help make solar cell production a profitable venture for them far into the future.”
.DuPont’s statement regarding “solar intellectual property theft” is misleading in its characterization of Heraeus as it makes a correlation between IP “theft” and unrelated patent litigation between the two companies.
Within the past year, DuPont has filed two patent infringement lawsuits against Heraeus. Heraeus has reviewed the patents in question (‘U.S. Patent 8,158,504’ and ‘U.S. Patent 7,767,254’) and we believe we do not infringe any valid claim of either patent. DuPont is pursuing patents related to the ‘254 patent in Europe, China and Japan and, in each case, the claims as filed were rejected based on invalidity. DuPont is also pursuing a patent related to the ‘504 patent in Europe and those claims as filed were also rejected.
Heraeus believes DuPont’s patent lawsuits seek to achieve through legal means what they cannot achieve through product performance and customer service. Heraeus also believes they are attempting to improperly influence competition in the marketplace by threatening customers and competitors with potential legal action.
The press release issued by DuPont also appears to contradict DuPont’s posture in the current litigation and may violate the law. In its complaints—prepared under oath—relating to the ‘254 or ‘504 patents, DuPont does not allege willfulness against Heraeus. Therefore, DuPont has effectively admitted that it has no support for any allegations of copying or “theft” of its allegedly patented pastes. Rather, DuPont is competing in the marketplace unfairly by attempting to discredit Heraeus products with misleading information for the purpose of increasing the perceived value of DuPont’s intellectual property rights and DuPont’s competing products.
“Heraeus is a worldwide innovation leader with a portfolio of more than 6,000 patents. We stand behind our innovative products and we will continue to produce our paste products at sites worldwide and supply them to our customers without making misleading statements or threats to our competitors,” said Andy London, Global Manager for the Photovoltaic Business Unit. “Our unique silver technology has changed the way cell producers view the metallization component of solar cells, and our customers understand that we bring great value to the PV industry. We plan to continue to help make solar cell production a profitable venture for them far into the future.”
The Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit is an industry-leading developer and manufacturer of silver metallization pastes for the photovoltaic industry. For over 40 years, Heraeus has built a reputation of innovation, extensive research and new product development in thick film technology. Heraeus also led the research effort to both reduce the silver used per cell and increase the output of cells at the same time.
Heraeus, the precious metals and technology group headquartered in Hanau, Germany, is a global, private company with over 160 years of tradition. Our fields of competence include precious metals, materials and technologies; sensors; biomaterials and medical products; as well as dental products, quartz glass and specialty light sources. With product revenues of €4.8 billion and precious metals trading revenues of €21.3 billion, as well as more than 13,300 employees in over 120 subsidiaries worldwide, Heraeus holds a leading position in its global markets.