Maxeon: Dutch court rejects ABC cell patent lawsuit against Aiko Solar

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Aiko’s ABC technology (exhibited above) was not judged to infringe on Maxeon’s patents. Image: Aiko Solar.

Singapore-headquartered solar manufacturer Maxeon has failed in its preliminary injuction against manufacturer Aiko Solar over alleged solar technology patent infringement.

A judge in the District Court of The Hague in the Netherlands denied Maxeon’s preliminary injunction over an alleged patent infringement case over solar cell architectures last week, in a result that Aiko called “a significant victory…showcasing the unique design of our cutting-edge ABC products.”

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The dispute was over specific back-contact (BC) solar cell architectures, known as all back-contact (ABC) or interdigitated back-contact (IBC).

In a declaration following the ruling, Maxeon said: “Maxeon firmly stands behind the strength, validity, and enforceability of its patent portfolio and in the infringement claims filed against Eironn Netherlands B.V. (Aiko Energy). We look forward to confirming this through an appeal of today’s decision and during the full course of these proceedings in the Dutch court, in addition to our ongoing patent infringement lawsuit against Aiko in Germany.”

Maxeon originally filed the patent infringement lawsuit in November 2023 against Aiko, its subsidiaries and the wholesale company Memodo in Germany. Aiko and Memodo signed a 1.3GW module supply agreement for the former’s n-type ABC modules in June 2023.

At the time of filing the lawsuit, Maxeon CEO Bill Mulligan said the suit was “necessary to protect our intellectual property, significant R&D and other investments, as well as our reputation and deep heritage and culture of innovation.”

In its statement following the denial at The Hague, Aiko Solar said: “The Dutch court held that it is not plausible that Aiko’s products would infringe Maxeon’s patent, therefore rejecting the requested preliminary injunction. This ruling by the Dutch court strongly supports Aiko’s continuous commitment to innovation in ABC technology.”

This is not the only patent infringement lawsuit Maxeon has launched in the last seven months. Shortly after filing the Aiko suit, the company announced plans to investigate “several” companies in the US over tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) solar cell technology patents. At the time, Maxeon claimed that it had a portfolio of over 1,600 patents for TOPCon products.

It has since transpired that three of the companies in question were Chinese solar manufacturing giant Canadian Solar, module manufacturer REC Solar Holdings and Korean-owned producer Qcells.  These three lawsuits were all filed between March and April 2024.

Earlier this week, the Nasdaq stock exchange issued Maxeon with a notice of non-compliance after the company failed to submit its financial statements for the full year 2023. At the same time, Maxeon announced that it would be delaying its Q4 2023 and Q1 2024 reports. The company has until the 16th July to submit a plan to regain compliance with Nasdaq.

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