Green Patent Blog: Zep and Westinghouse Break Mounting Tension with Comprehensive Settlement

Green Patent Blog: Zep and Westinghouse Break Mounting Tension with Comprehensive Settlement

Previous posts (herehere and here) discussed the patent litigation between Zep Solar and Westinghouse Solar over solar panel mounting technology.  The contentious dispute involved at least three patents, three forums, two reexaminations, and back and forth cross claims of infringement and invalidity.

Recently, Zep and Westinghouse announced that they have reached a comprehensive settlement to end their patent battles. 

In a joint statement, the companies said the agreement would result in dismissal of all actions, which included proceedings in federal courts, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  The statement also indicated that the settlement extends to all customers, suppliers and licensees of both Zep and Westinghouse that were named parties in any of the legal actions.

The asserted Westinghouse patents were U.S. Patents Nos. 7,406,800 ('800 Patent) and 7,987,641('641 Patent).  Both cover what Westinghouse refers to as the "Andalay System," a solar power system which includes solar panels with integrated racking, wiring and grounding (DC solar panels), and integrated microinverters (AC solar panels) for residential and commercial customers.

Zep had asserted U.S. Patent No. 7,592,537, entitled "Method and apparatus for mounting photovoltaic modules" and directed to an interlocking PV module array.

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