European Solar Photovoltaic Patent Revoked

In an oral decision issued today, the European Patent Office (EPO) revoked European Patent No. EP 0 871 979 issued to the University of Neuchatel (the Neuchatel patent), which pertains to solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. The Neuchatel patent is the subject of a lawsuit filed in Germany by OC Oerlikon Balzers AG, Liechtenstein alleging patent infringement against an Applied Materials thin film solar customer.

Following oral proceedings held on March 31 in Berlin, Germany, the EPO panel ruled that the Neuchatel patent is invalid in its entirety and accordingly revoked the patent. The University of Neuchatel may appeal this decision to an EPO Board of Appeal.

Applied Materials’ product offering for manufacturing thin film solar PV modules – the Applied SunFab™ line – is a fully integrated production line that delivers leading-edge manufacturing capability using advanced engineering, process equipment, diagnostics, automation and emissions abatement systems. Adapted from production-proven processes including Applied’s market-leading PECVD system, the SunFab line is the only production line for manufacturing ultra-large 5.7 m2 thin film solar PV modules. Each line can be configured with single or tandem junction technology and is optimized to lower customers’ manufacturing costs.


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