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DuPont Ups Ante in Struggle with Samsung SDI, Pursues Litigation Against Main Competitor’s Customers

published: 2014-08-29 9:39

DuPont is stepping up its attacks on the customers of its competitor Samsung SDI, alleging that by using Samsung SDI’s front-side metallization paste, they are infringing on DuPont’s own patented tellurium paste technology. DuPont is using legal channels to attempt to sever the ties between Samsung SDI and its customers, according to EnergyTrend, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based market intelligence firm TrendForce.

Samsung SDI’s front-side and back-side metallization pastes sold extremely well in the mainland China market in the first half of the year, penetrating into its main industrial supply chain, said Arthur Hsu, a research manager in EnergyTrend. “Samsung SDI is becoming dominant in the mainland China front-side and back-side metallization paste markets, seriously threatening DuPont’s share of those markets,” Hsu added.

Although the quality of Samsung SDI and DuPont’s products are roughly equal, Samsung SDI’s are priced more competitively, which appeals greatly to price-sensitive Chinese businesses. Meanwhile, despite DuPont’s patent infringement litigation, mainland China industry has not significantly lowered its usage of Samsung SDI products. Indeed, Samsung SDI’s share of the China silver metallization paste market remains at 30-40%, which is very similar to DuPont’s.

Since DuPont’s initial attempts to sue Samsung SDI directly were not successful, it changed course and went after Samsung SDI’s customers. TrendForce believes the clash between DuPont and Samsung SDI may affect the market in several ways. On the one hand, other industry players such as Giga Solar and Heraeous may benefit. At the same time, metallization paste supply and demand may change. It is worthwhile to continue following the situation closely.

This week’s spot market prices

High efficiency multi-si wafer prices continued their decline, falling 0.33% to US$0.918/piece. The prices of normal-grade multi-si wafers are in the doldrums in the mainland domestic market, falling 1.33 percent to US$0.887/piece. Cell prices fell on weak market activity. Vendors’ inventory was affected by pressure from anti-dumping and countervailing tariffs. Taiwan cell prices continued their decline, falling 1.91% to US$0.327/watt. Chinese demand for cells remains weak, while vendors’ module sell-off continues. Chinese cell prices fell 1.28 percent to US$0.309/watt. Meanwhile, modules prices fell 1.4 percent to US $ 0.563/watt.

(Photo Credit: Daniel Petzold  via photopin cc)

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