Maxeon Solar, SunPower’s spinoff, files panel patent infringement against Canadian Solar in Japan

The lawsuit alleges Canadian Solar Japan infringes Maxeon's Shingled Solar Cell Module.

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Singapore — Maxeon Solar announced that it filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Canadian Solar Japan K.K., in Tokyo District Court, Japan.

The lawsuit filing alleges Canadian Solar Japan infringes Maxeon’s Japan Patent No. JP6642841B2 (“Shingled Solar Cell Module”) for the proprietary and fundamental shingled solar cell panel technology used to deploy solar panels that Maxeon designs, manufactures, and sells under the ‘SunPower Performance’ brand name. Canadian Solar Japan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc., which is headquartered in Canada with operations and production facilities in China and in South-East Asia.

Shingled solar cell panels are typically made from separating solar cells into smaller solar cell strips and then connecting the resulting solar cell strips in an overlapping layout. The result is a higher power, higher efficiency panel, with enhanced reliability and improved durability compared to conventional panels.

The Performance panel architecture and manufacturing processes were pioneered by Silicon Valley-based start-up company Cogenra Solar which was acquired by SunPower Corporation in 2015. In the subsequent spinoff of Maxeon Solar Technologies, Maxeon retained the use of the SunPower brand in the more than 100 markets it serves. Maxeon produces its SunPower Performance solar panels in China at Huansheng Photovoltaic (Jiangsu) Co., Ltd., its joint venture with Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd. With more than 3 gigawatts deployed across over 60 countries to date, Performance panels are the industry’s most deployed shingled solar cell panel technology.

“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,” said Jeff Waters, CEO of Maxeon Solar Technologies. “The resultant Performance technology outperforms conventional panels in efficiency, power, reliability, and aesthetics.”

The innovation behind Performance panels is protected by 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.

“We feel very strongly about the importance of upholding our intellectual property rights, and view our intellectual property as a key business asset,” added Lindsey Wiedmann, Maxeon’s Chief Legal Officer. “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.”

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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