The International Trade Commission (ITC) of the U.S. announced on April 4 launch of Section 337 investigation on seven Chinese manufacturers of PV cells and downstream products, including industry leaders Jinko Solar and Longi Solar. Gao Feng, spokesman of China's Ministry of Commerce, contended April 11 that the case only involves business disputes among enterprises, urging the U.S. to handle it in an objective manner.
The decision was made, in response to application filed by Hanwha of South Korea and its U.S. subsidiary citing Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which authorizes the ITC to issue an order to exclude articles from entry into the U.S. that have been found to violate U.S.-based intellectual property rights or where the respondent has committed other unfair acts relating to imported products.
Hanwha Q Cells and Hanwha Q Cells & Advanced Materials charged that the seven Chinese enterprises infringe on its Q. ANTUM technology for PERC cell.
Hanwha's Q. ANTUM technology features a special nano coating, which enhances the reflective effect of optical solar reflector, thereby boosting the conversion efficiency of PERC cell.
Longi, however, countered that it employs PECVD process for its PERC cell, different from ALD deposition technology of Hanwha, noting that Hanwha purchased its technology via multiple transfers, whose patent right has been challenged by some enterprises in Europe. Hanwha, however, stressed that Q. ANTUM patent covers ALD and PECVD deposition technologies, adding the patent lies mainly in the PV-cell structure.
The ITC will determine the deadline for the investigation within 45 days after the establishment of the case. From the 60th day following the announcement of the investigation, all products confirmed to commit the infringement will be banned from import into the U.S.
(Collaborative meduia: TechNews, first photo courtesy of JR via Flickr CC BY 2.0)