Solaria files IP lawsuit against GCL over module production infringement

Solaria, the California-headquartered solar cell and module developer, is suing GCL Solar Energy – a subsidiary of China’s GCL-Poly Energy Holdings – over alleged misappropriation of trade secrets pertaining to the company’s module development techniques.

Solaria has filed a lawsuit against the Chinese firm for breaching the terms of a 2014 non-disclosure agreement signed by the parties. It is alleged that GCL Solar gained an unfair advantage in using Solaria’s patented techniques to produce their own shingled modules.

Before the hearing takes place (scheduled for early next year at the Superior Court of the State Court of California), GCL has agreed to a temporary restraining order on the use and disclosure of Solaria’s proprietary technology, and to not disclose any confidential information that the Chinese firm may be privy to since the companies collaborated in 2014-15 over a potential licensing and manufacturing agreement.

“GCL misappropriated Solaria IP [Intellectual property], technology and manufacturing processes for its own use, in violation of our non-disclosure agreement,” said Solaria CEO Suvi Sharma. “The investigation into this intellectual property theft is ongoing, and we will take appropriate action, including brining in additional parties to the lawsuit if warranted, in order to protect our business interests.”

pv magazine has contacted GCL Solar Energy for comment.

Sharma added that Solaria has spent more than ten years investing in the development of its core technology in solar cell cutting, stringing and panel making. The company has more than 100 patents for its technology, which enables the creation of zero white space modules and the connection of cell segments without busbars.

A similar but unconnected lawsuit was also filed this week by SunPower subsidiary Cogrena Solar over the alleged IP theft by SolarCity of its shingled module technology.