Solar module manufacturer Solaria Corp. has filed a lawsuit against Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System Co. Ltd., Seraphim Solar USA Manufacturing Inc., and Suzhou Autoway System Co. Ltd. in Federal District Court for the Northern District of California.
In the lawsuit, Solaria contends that the defendants misappropriated Solaria’s trade secrets regarding its proprietary solar panel technology and used the information to make their own solar modules and manufacturing equipment without Solaria’s knowledge or consent. The complaint also includes claims for conversion, unjust enrichment/restitution, and unfair competition.
“We believe we have strong evidence that Seraphim and Autoway misappropriated Solaria’s proprietary technology and manufacturing processes for their own use, in violation of U.S. intellectual property laws,” says Solaria CEO Suvi Sharma in a press release. “Our investigation is ongoing, and we will take all appropriate action, including bringing in additional parties to the lawsuit if warranted, in order to protect our business interests.”
Solaria says it has spent over a decade and made significant investments in developing its technology in solar cell cutting, stringing and panel making, and the company protects its proprietary technology through patents and trade secrets. The lawsuit alleges misappropriation of key aspects of Solaria’s technology protected by trade secrets. Solaria says it is investigating whether these companies, and potentially others, are violating its patents as well.
This new lawsuit follows one Solaria launched in September 2016 against various GCL companies, including GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., in California State Court. In that lawsuit, Solaria claims that GCL misappropriated Solaria’s trade secrets and breached a non-disclosure agreement pursuant to which Solaria disclosed its solar module technology to GCL as part of a potential deal between the two companies. Solaria alleges that after GCL terminated the negotiations with Solaria, it embarked on its own effort to develop solar panels based on Solaria’s technology and disclosed Solaria’s trade secrets to Autoway and potentially others as part of that effort. The lawsuit against GCL is ongoing.