Maxeon sues REC Solar over US TOPCon cell patent infringement

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Maxeon’s patent infringement lawsuit against REC Solar, follows one filed against Canadian Solar last month. Image: Maxeon Solar Technologies

Solar manufacturer Maxeon Solar Technologies has initiated a patent infringement lawsuit in the US against module manufacturer REC Solar Holdings.

Filed in the Eastern District of Texas, US, Maxeon alleges an infringement on patents related to tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) solar cell technology.

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The lawsuit follows an investigation launched by Maxeon last November against several companies regarding US TOPCon patent infringement, although the company had not disclosed any specifics regarding the patents or the names of the companies it was investigating.

“Intellectual property infringement sits alongside injurious dumping and subsidy-driven excess global production capacity as an unfair trade practice that distorts markets and tilts what should be a level playing field for global solar manufacturing,” said Marc Robinson, Maxeon’s associate general counsel. “Maxeon strongly supports fair competition and will continue to vigorously enforce the company’s patent rights in the US and its other markets.”

PV Tech has reached out to REC Solar for a comment on the Maxeon lawsuit.

Second patent infringement lawsuit filed in the US

This is Maxeon’s second patent infringement lawsuit filed in the US in less than a month, after the company sued solar manufacturer Canadian Solar late in March.

“In November we initiated a TOPCon patent infringement investigation in the US, and this lawsuit is a result of that investigation,” a company spokesperson told PV Tech regarding the Canadian Solar lawsuit.

“Canadian Solar generates significant sales of TOPCon products in the US which we believe infringe on our IP, and a successful result against them would set a precedent for future IP infringement actions against other TOPCon suppliers who are selling, or considering selling, TOPCon panels in the US.”

Outside the US, the company has filed two lawsuits against Chinese solar manufacturers Aiko and Tongwei, both in Germany.

Last November, the lawsuit against Aiko alleged infringement of Maxeon’s European patent for solar cell architectures. Maxeon said its patent relates to proprietary and fundamental solar cell architectures for rear or back contact solar cells, also known as all-back contact (ABC) solar cells or IBC solar cells.

Whereas the patent infringement lawsuit against Tongwei concerns Maxeon’s shingled solar cell panel technology – European patent no. EP3522045 B1 – which it claims Tongwei has infringed on in the German market.

“Last year, we filed lawsuits against Tongwei with respect to our Shingled Hypercell technology and against Aiko with respect to our IBC technology, further examples of Maxeon rigorously defending our IP in all our markets,” a company spokesperson told PV Tech.

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