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Maxeon Solar files patent lawsuit against Canadian Solar in Japan

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Maxeon Solar Technologies has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Canadian Solar Japan in Tokyo District Court, Japan.

The prosecution alleges that Canadian Solar Japan is in violation of Maxeon’s Japan Patent No. JP6642841B2 (Shingled Solar Cell Module) for the patented and fundamental shingled solar cell panel technology used under the brand name ‘SunPower Performance’ to deploy solar panels that Maxeon designs, manufactures and sells.

Canadian Solar Japan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar, with operations and production facilities in China and South-East Asia, and is headquartered in Canada.

Usually, shingled solar cell panels are created by splitting solar cells into smaller strips of solar cells and then linking the resulting strips of solar cells in an overlapping pattern. Compared to traditional panels, the outcome is a higher capacity, higher performance panel, with increased reliability and improved durability.

Silicon Valley-based start-up Cogenra Solar, which was acquired by SunPower Corporation in 2015, pioneered the Performance Panel design and manufacturing processes. Maxeon maintained the use of the SunPower name in the subsequent spinoff of Maxeon Solar Technologies in the more than 100 markets it serves. At Huansheng Photovoltaic (Jiangsu), a joint venture with Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor, Maxeon produces its SunPower Performance solar panels in China. Performance panels are the most deployed shingled solar cell panel technology in the industry, with more than 3 gigawatts deployed in more than 60 countries to date.

“We’ve built our business on a 35-year foundation of pioneering solar innovation. The intellectual property behind our shingled solar cell technology was developed by our talented design and engineering teams and is the result of substantial investment. The resultant Performance technology outperforms conventional panels in efficiency, power, reliability and aesthetics.”

 Jeff Waters, CEO of Maxeon Solar Technologies. 

An international portfolio of more than 150 patents and patent applications covering shingled solar cell and panel design, as well as key manufacturing tools and processes, protects the invention behind performance panels.

“We feel very strongly about the importance of upholding our intellectual property rights, and view our intellectual property as a key business asset. Maxeon’s patent portfolio, which now includes more than 900 patents, helps protect the many technical advancements we’ve made through the years that have led us to a prominent position in the solar industry,” continued Wiedmann. “We must vigorously safeguard these valuable assets, and this action against Canadian Solar is a necessary step to prevent unauthorized use of our intellectual property.  Respect of intellectual property rights is critical to incentivize innovation and for the orderly ongoing development of the solar industry.”

Lindsey Wiedmann, Maxeon’s chief legal officer. 
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