Nextracker settles solar equipment patent infringement lawsuit


Nextracker has settled a patent infringement lawsuit against Ohio-based Northern States Metals Co., which conducts its solar energy business under the name Solar FlexRack.

California-based Nextracker filed suit in federal court in June 2020 in a matter titled NEXTracker Inc., v. Solar FlexRack and Northern States Metals Company, Case No. 1:20-cv-00849-MN (Delaware).

Under terms of the settlement agreement, Solar FlexRack will pay Nextracker royalties on qualifying sales revenue of Solar FlexRack’s TDP 2.0 solar tracker and certain related products, services, and components. Other terms were not disclosed.

The lawsuit alleged that FlexRack improperly made use of Nextracker’s patented technology. The patents include U.S. Patent No. 9,806,669, entitled “Single-Axis Follower Support System for a Solar Collector,” and No. 9,970,686, entitled “Balanced Solar Tracker Clamp.”

In a separate statement, Solar FlexRack said it agreed to dismiss claims filed with the Patent and Trademark Office to invalidate Nextracker patent rights that were the subject of the lawsuit. Northern States Metals said it denied ever infringing on any of Nextracker’s patent rights. It said the settlement agreement provided for “only nominal payments” by Northern States, which the company said it agreed to pay to avoid a protracted legal process.

This article was updated March 15 to include comments from Northern States Metals.

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