SolarEdge under investigation for alleged patent violations


From pv magazine USA

Ampt, a power electronics specialist based in Colorado, has filed a lawsuit against SolarEdge, a major player in the power electronics space, for allegedly violating its patents.

The company said that SolarEdge violated patents on “power optimisers that contain high-efficiency power converters that both allow maximum power-point output and use operational boundary conditions that continue producing power during conditions that might otherwise require the optimiser to be bypassed.”

Now, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has accepted the complaint from Ampt, and will launch an investigation into the alleged patent infringement. The ITC set a target of 45 days from the announced investigation to complete the review. Ampt is seeking a ban on imports of SolarEdge products as well as a ban on the sale of such products in the United States after they are imported.

Ampt string optimisers have two inputs and one output back to the inverter. The string optimisers are located between the PV source circuits and the combiner box on a PV system. The optimiser performs MPP tracking on each input and delivers full available power to the output at a voltage set by the inverter. This is done without requiring communication between the inverter and optimisers.

“We appreciate the commission’s decision to investigate SolarEdge’s unlawful use of our proprietary technology without asking our permission or compensating us,” said Levent Gun, Ampt’s chief executive officer.

Ampt has also filed a patent infringement action involving claims from eight of its US patents in the US District Court in Delaware against SolarEdge seeking a finding of patent infringement, substantial monetary damages and an injunction.

“SolarEdge and Ampt have been litigating a dispute involving a patent family filed by SolarEdge and a patent family filed by Ampt before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for many years,” SolarEdge told pv magazine. “Recently, the USPTO awarded priority of invention to SolarEdge, canceled the claims of Ampt’s patents, and awarded the patent claims in these Ampt patents to SolarEdge. It appears that having lost before the USPTO, Ampt is now shopping around its claims to other courts. SolarEdge anticipates a vigorous defence of these new cases.” 

SolarEdge, along with other players in the solar industry, is expected to grow significantly following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes record spending for renewable energy technologies. JP Morgan recently increased its 12-month share price target for the company from US$373 to US$419. The target implies a 51% increase from its current share price of US$277. 

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