ITC Initiates Investigation Into Patent Infringement by Zep Solar and Canadian Solar on Behalf of U.S. Government and Westinghouse Solar
Westinghouse Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq:WEST), a designer and manufacturer of solar power systems, today announced that the International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to initiate an investigation on behalf of the U.S. Government to determine if Zep Solar and Canadian Solar are importing solar products that infringe on Westinghouse Solar patents.
Westinghouse Solar contends that Zep Solar and Canadian Solar make and import certain products that infringe two Westinghouse Solar patents — U.S. Patent Numbers 7,406,800 and 7,987,641. Westinghouse Solar's ITC filing is a means of addressing the alleged infringement by seeking a permanent exclusion order barring certain Zep Solar and Canadian Solar products from being imported into the United States, as well as a cease and desist order prohibiting the importation, sale, or advertising of these products.
"We have been working with solar panel manufacturers since 2004 to reduce installation costs by integrating racking, grounding and wiring into the solar panel itself," said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Westinghouse Solar. "At Solar Power International 2011 last month we introduced our Andalay Groove technology, which includes low-cost mounting components that work with panels incorporating side grooves --- including panels from Trina, Yingli, Canadian Solar, ET Solar, Upsolar, Hanwha Solar, and Sharp. We are in discussions with a number of panel manufacturers as well as large integrators to utilize Andalay Groove technology," continued Cinnamon.
"I want to make our position clear: this ITC patent infringement action is un-related to the anti-dumping allegations of SolarWorld and several other manufacturers. Our goal is quite simply to protect Westinghouse Solar's intellectual property by seeking an order prohibiting the importation of solar products that infringe our U.S. patents," continued Cinnamon. "We will continue to aggressively defend our patent rights, which we believe were first infringed by Zep Solar, a U.S. company."
"We regret that Zep Solar licensees -- whether they are based in the U.S., China or any other country -- may be potentially dragged into the middle of this ITC patent infringement dispute. Our focus in the U.S. should be on creating jobs, and our experience is that more affordable solar power systems will create more installation jobs in the U.S. Costs are reduced with simplified installation technology, as well as with lower cost solar panels — regardless of where they are manufactured," continued Cinnamon.
With the Investigation instituted, the ITC will now be assigning an administrative law judge to preside over the proceeding, and will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. More information about this ITC investigation can be found at http://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2011/er1102jj1.htm.
About Westinghouse Solar (Nasdaq:WEST)
Westinghouse Solar is a designer and manufacturer of solar power systems. In 2007, Westinghouse Solar pioneered the concept of integrating the racking, wiring and grounding directly into the solar panel. This revolutionary solar panel, originally branded "Andalay", quickly won industry acclaim. In 2009, the company again broke new ground with the first integrated AC solar panel, reducing the number of components for a rooftop solar installation by approximately 80 percent and lowering labor costs by approximately 50 percent. This first AC panel, which won the 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, has become the industry's most widely installed AC solar panel. Award-winning Westinghouse Solar Power Systems provide the best combination of safety, performance and reliability, while backed by the proven quality of the Westinghouse name. For more information on Westinghouse Solar, visit www.westinghousesolar.com.