Zep Solar: Law suit against Westinghouse Solar
Zep Solar, Inc., developers of the first PV module-integrated installation platform, today sued Westinghouse Solar, Inc., Light Way Solar and three other parties for infringement of a Zep Solar patent (US #7,592,537), which covers many of Zep Solar 's innovative and highly successful products. Zep Solar is petitioning the US District Court for the Northern District of California to award enhanced damages for willful infringement and issue preliminary and permanent injunctions barring Westinghouse and the other defendants from infringing through the licensing, manufacturing, importation, offering for sale, sale, or use of Westinghouse's PV modules and installation hardware, including the Westinghouse Solar Power Systems AC-230/235 product family, Andalay Groove components and others.
Mike Miskovsky , CEO of Zep Solar , issued the following statement regarding the suit:
"Westinghouse's new products blatantly infringe our patent rights. It appears that the company's difficulties in the market have led it to copy our innovations in an attempt to become more competitive. Our licensees have invested in the Zep Compatible ™ platform and it is our obligation to protect that investment and the value that it brings to the solar industry."
Key Statements from the Complaint:
"The AC 230/235 and Andalay Groove products infringe Zep Solar 's '537 patent, which...pre-dates all of [Westinghouse's] patents and products...[and] covers the key concepts and enabling features of an interlocking photovoltaic ("PV") installation system."
"Prior to the [Solar Power International 2011] trade show, [Westinghouse] announced it would be offering for sale a product called the "Andalay Groove," a blatant copy of [ Zep Solar 's] signature "Interlock" product. This launch was accompanied by a marketing campaign, which featured unauthorized use of the names and logos of major Zep Solar licensees, along with unverified claims of compatibility with the Zep Compatible platform. These Zep Solar licensees included Canadian Solar, Trina Solar , Yingli Solar , Sharp Solar, UpSolar, CentroSolar, and ET Solar."
"[Westinghouse's] business appears to be failing. It has suffered through consecutive years of losses, multiple NASDAQ delisting notices, a steadily declining share price, and limited market penetration. Recognizing that its own products are market failures, [Westinghouse] has now resorted to...blatantly producing and selling copycat, infringing products...attempting to free-ride on Zep Solar 's market successes."
This suit additionally names certain Westinghouse business partners who assist the company in bringing its various infringing products to market:
Light Way Green New Energy Company of Heibei, China (and its U.S. Subsidiary Brightway Global LLC), which manufactures Westinghouse products prior to their importation to the United States ;
Morrison Supply Company of Fort Worth, TX , which distributes Westinghouse Solar products;
Sky Solar Solutions LLC of Collegeville, PA , which markets, sells, and installs Westinghouse Solar systems; and
Alternative Power & Electric of Saratoga , CA, which markets, sells, and installs Westinghouse Solar systems.
About Zep Solar
Zep Solar , Inc. was founded in 2009 by PV industry veterans to advance the proliferation of solar energy through well designed PV mounting and grounding products that offer speed of installation, ease and low cost to a wide range of applications. With its patented Zep Groove PV module frame technology, a catalog of its own mounting and grounding hardware, and third party Zep Compatible ™ products, Zep Solar offers the world's first comprehensive platform for PV system installation. Zep Solar 's platform drastically reduces the cost and complexity of designing, shipping, warehousing and installing PV systems. The company has nine prominent module licensee partners including Canadian Solar, Centrosolar, ET Solar, Trina Solar , UpSolar, Yingli Solar , Sharp Solar, Hanwha SolarOne and Eco-Kinetics. Please visit www.zepsolar.com for more information about our company and products.