Electronics Production | June 12, 2008
Oerlikon Solar takes legal action against Sunfilm
Oerlikon Solar is taking steps to defend its strong Intellectual Property portfolio. In addition to its own proprietary IP, Oerlikon is the worldwide exclusive licensee for production systems for thin film photovoltaic cells on glass for several patent families, in particular under EP 0 871 979 B1.
This exclusivity includes the right to enforce the patents against third party infringements. "With this action, Oerlikon Solar is taking steps to protect our core assets and those of our customer's. Oerlikon's intellectual property is being knowingly infringed upon by Sunfilm", says Jeannine Sargent, CEO Oerlikon Solar. "Our IP represents the cumulative work product of thousands of scientists and engineers for over twenty years, including millions of dollars of investment." Oerlikon Solar's IP Portfolio includes European Patent EP 0 871 979 B1, which describes fundamentals of micromorph® tandem cell technology, an exclusive license to which was obtained by Oerlikon in 2003, from IMT, University of Neuchatel (Switzerland). Sunfilm of Grossroehrsdorf in Germany has publicly announced plans to enter the market with tandem junction photovoltaic modules, in violation of Oerlikon's exclusive license. In Oerlikon's view, Sunfilm's manufacturing setup in Saxony, Germany, is designed to infringe upon both method and product that are protected under EP 0 871 979 B1. Oerlikon has decided to exert its right to enforce EP 0 871 979 B1 against Sunfilm. A complaint for patent infringement has been filed on June 10 with the German District Court of Duesseldorf. The relevance of this patent has been made clear by the fact that several companies, including Sunfilm, have filed a notice of opposition with the European Patent office. Sargent: "Oerlikon wants to assure our stakeholders that we will enforce and protect our intellectual property and will aggressively pursue all parties who are suspected of violating these rights."