Fri, Oct 14, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Heraeus gaining market share due to patent case

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Heraeus Group, the world’s largest supplier of silver photovoltaic conductive paste, yesterday said it has gained 10 percent market share due to its ongoing patent lawsuit against Taiwan’s Giga Solar Materials Corp (碩禾).

The German company’s remarks came as the patent lawsuit entered the next stage of proceedings: German’s Intellectual Property Court has launched a new investigation into whether Giga Solar infringes on Heraeus’ patent rights.

In August, the court confirmed the validity of Heraeus’ Taiwan patent No. I432539 after 14 months of investigations and dismissed all arguments raised by Giga Solar.

“Customers are a little bit nervous [about being involving in a patent infringement lawsuit],” Heraeus’ photovoltaics unit president Andreas Liebheit told a media briefing in Taipei. “We are winning more new customers because they feel safer using Heroes pastes.”

Heraeus, which has been making silver photovoltaic conductive paste for more than three decades, said the lawsuit helped it expand its market share to about 35 percent in the current quarter, compared with 25 percent last year.

Heraeus said it has secured a new partnership and orders from China’s major solar-cell maker Jinko Solar Co Ltd (晶科能源).

“Although we cannot predict the outcome of the lawsuit, we are well prepared for seeking compensation from those who violate our patents,” Liebheit said.

He declined to disclose specific figures.

“We believe we are on the right track, and we believe that we will win this case,” Liebheit said.

The company holds about 300 granted patents, with more than 700 employees working at its research and development centers worldwide.

Giga Solar on Wednesday said that it expected no significant impact from the patent dispute. The company did not expect a final ruling any time soon.

Instead, shipments are likely to grow between 30 percent and 40 percent this quarter from last quarter, as demand is picking up, Giga Solar chairman Jimmy Chen (陳繼明) said.

Neo Solar Power Corp (新日光能源) chairman Sam Hong (洪傳獻) yesterday said that the third quarter was the worst period.

“Demand is recovering as supply chain inventories have reduced significantly,” Hong said at a separate news conference introducing the company’s new products.

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