Trump Administration Set to Decide Suniva’s Solar Panel ITC Trade Case

This post was co-authored by Brad Thompson and Justus Getty.

  • It is anticipated that by no later than the end of January 2018 the Trump administration will decide what, if any, import relief will be granted to the domestic solar panel manufacturing industry.
  • Suniva petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for import relief in May 2017, claiming domestic solar panel manufacturers have been seriously injured by increased solar panel imports.
  • The four ITC Commissioners unanimously agreed on September 22, 2017, that imported solar panels have caused “serious injury” to domestic manufacturers, and have now made varying remedy proposals to President Trump for his approval.
  • The potential impact on the domestic solar industry could be significant or relatively minor; however, the mere uncertainty around what the Trump administration might do has caused a “spike” in demand for solar panels as companies have stockpiled panels ahead of a potential imposition of tariffs or quotas on solar panel imports.

A widely followed trade case is set to reach its conclusion by the end of January, 2018, with an announcement from the Trump administration of what, if any, actions will be taken to protect the U.S. domestic solar panel industry. The administration has received recommendations from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), triggering a two-month window for the President to take action. (The administration also could act earlier or grant itself additional time to hand down a final decision). The case was originally brought before the ITC this past May by domestic solar panel manufacturers Suniva, Inc., who was then joined by SolarWorld Americas Inc. in the case. Continue reading “Trump Administration Set to Decide Suniva’s Solar Panel ITC Trade Case”

Dispute Over Solar Inverter Technology Heads to Federal Court

  • A manufacturer of solar inverter components, MAGicALL, has accused its former customer Advanced Energy Industries of stealing trade secrets and violating non-disclosure agreements relating to MAGicALL’s product designs.
  • Trade secret law protects companies against the misappropriation of valuable business information that has been subject to reasonable efforts to maintain secrecy.

California’s MAGicALL, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (“AEI”) and several affiliated companies alleging breach of non-disclosure agreements and theft of trade secrets relating to MAGicALL’s solar inverter technology. In a Complaint filed in federal court in Colorado this month, MAGicALL requested that the court issue an injunction preventing AEI from continuing to sell any products containing MAGicALL’s proprietary technology, and award monetary damages in an amount yet to be determined. Continue reading “Dispute Over Solar Inverter Technology Heads to Federal Court”

What Patents Did Bankrupt SunEdison Sell to China’s GLC-Poly Energy?

  • As a result of bankruptcy, SunEdison will sell a portfolio of more than 100 patents and 200 patent applications to China’s GLC-Poly Energy Holdings.
  • The bulk of the portfolio is directed to SunEdison’s proprietary materials and processes for manufacturing a solar panel.
  • Transfer of ownership to GLC-Poly may complicate business for former SunEdison supplier SMP Ltd.

Last month the judge overseeing SunEdison Inc.’s bankruptcy denied an effort by South Korea-based SMP Ltd. to prevent the sale of SunEdison’s patent portfolio. SMP, which was formed as a joint venture between Samsung and SunEdison to supply key elements of SunEdison’s solar panels, had argued that Korean law prevented SunEdison from terminating a supply and license agreement. If SMP prevailed on this argument, then SunEdison would have been unable to terminate the supply and license agreement, and as a result would have been prevented from selling its patent portfolio. Continue reading “What Patents Did Bankrupt SunEdison Sell to China’s GLC-Poly Energy?”

Strategic Solar Energy Settles Patent Suit Against Affordable Solar Installation

  • Strategic Solar Energy and Affordable Solar Installation have settled a patent infringement lawsuit.
  • Patents may provide valuable leverage against market competitors. Parties infringing a patent may face a court injunction against further infringing activities and monetary damages.

Arizona’s Strategic Solar Energy LLC has settled its patent infringement lawsuit against New Mexico-based competitor Affordable Solar Installation, Inc. Strategic, which designs and installs a solar panel canopy branded as the PowerParasol® canopy (see, filed the lawsuit in December 2016 to assert infringement of its U.S. Patent Number 8,825,500 (the ‘500 Patent). In a court order dated October 13, 2017, the case was dismissed due to a settlement between the parties.

Continue reading “Strategic Solar Energy Settles Patent Suit Against Affordable Solar Installation”

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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