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The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to begin an investigation on behalf of the US government on a claim filed by Westinghouse Solar that Zep Solar and Canadian Solar are importing solar products that infringe on Westinghouse’s patents. The company asserts that Zep Solar and Canadian Solar make and import certain products that infringe its US Patent Numbers 7,406,800 and 7,987,641.
Westinghouse filed a petition with the ITC in order for the commission to look into the alleged infringements and is looking for a permanent exclusion order that would prevent certain Zep Solar and Canadian Solar products from being imported into the US. Additionally, Westinghouse is asking for a cease and desist order that would forbid the importation, sale or advertising of these products.
Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Westinghouse Solar stated, "I want to make our position clear: this ITC patent infringement action is un-related to the anti-dumping allegations of SolarWorld and several other manufacturers. Our goal is quite simply to protect Westinghouse Solar's intellectual property by seeking an order prohibiting the importation of solar products that infringe our US patents," continued Cinnamon. "We will continue to aggressively defend our patent rights, which we believe were first infringed by Zep Solar, a US company."
"We regret that Zep Solar licensees, whether they are based in the US, China or any other country, may be potentially dragged into the middle of this ITC patent infringement dispute. Our focus in the US should be on creating jobs, and our experience is that more affordable solar power systems will create more installation jobs in the US. Costs are reduced with simplified installation technology, as well as with lower cost solar panels – regardless of where they are manufactured," concluded Cinnamon.
Now that the ITC has voted to begin an investigation, it will be assigning an administrative law judge to preside over the proceedings and will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ITC noted that it will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time.