DuPont sues SolarWorld for patent infringement

SolarWorld was named in a federal lawsuit by DuPont.

SolarWorld was named in a federal lawsuit by DuPont. 

The DuPont Co. filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday accusing SolarWorld Industries America Inc. for infringing on a DuPont patent for a metal compound used in making solar energy cells.

The case filed in U.S. District Court in Portland also targets Heraeus Materials Technology LLC, a Conshohocken, Pa.-based processor of precious metals.

DuPont claims Heraeus sold to Hillsboro-based SolarWorld its H92XX or H94XX front side silver photovoltaic pastes, which SolarWorld uses on its solar panels.

The products, the company says, violate a patent the company received in May 29 for a “a thick film conductive composition" the company uses in its Solamet product line, which it says has been responsible for significant gains in solar power efficiency.

SolarWorld spokesman Ben Santarris on Thursday said DuPont’s complaint is “surprising and incomprehensible to us.”“Obviously it is based on a patent dispute between DuPont and Heraeus from whom we indirectly purchase our pastes,” Santarris said. “As a mere customer of Heraeus, we naturally don’t have any insight into the patent law situation of the various paste patents. We will now, however, discuss the issue with Heraeus and so far Heraeus’ position is that the accusations are unsubstantiated.”

It's DuPont's second patent infringement case against Heraeus, following a September lawsuit that is ongoing.

"The advances we have made in the field of front- and back-side metallization contacts have resulted in significant efficiency gains for solar cell technology," David B. Miller, president of DuPont Electronics & Communications, said in a news release. "This case demonstrates that DuPont will act swiftly to enforce our intellectual property rights against any infringers and protect our investment and commitment to DuPont shareholders and customers."

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