For almost 40 years, SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA) has been developing innovative technologies that make a crucial contribution to promoting the global expansion of photovoltaics and the transition to a safe, sustainable and cost-effective supply based on renewable energies. More than 1,500 patents and utility models granted worldwide and some 450 pending patent applications are testament to the company’s strong innovative prowess. In a field where competition is fierce, it is becoming increasingly important to innovative companies like SMA to protect their intellectual property.
“SMA was recently granted its 1,500th patent,” said SMA CEO Jürgen Reinert. “This underlines our leading position among innovators of photovoltaic system technology. None of our competitors holds anywhere near as many patents in this field as we do. Our innovative strength is a major factor behind SMA’s success. Unfortunately, in the highly competitive environment of our industry, it is becoming increasingly common for competitors to use our patent-protected technology unlawfully. Any infringement of patent rights is theft of intellectual property and thus a serious breach of the rules of fair competition. We do, of course, take measures to protect ourselves through highly professional and effective intellectual property management. SMA is also continuously investing in new innovations, with annual research and development expenses exceeding €60 million.”
SMA has so far won all legal proceedings
In order to protect the company's intellectual property, SMA does not shy away from lengthy legal disputes. In addition to patent infringements by competitors, attempts by patent exploiters to assert unjustified claims against SMA are gaining in importance. To date, SMA has won all legal disputes both with competitors and with patent exploiters. The most recent cases include patent infringement proceedings against a competitor, in which SMA was granted full rights in the first instance by the Düsseldorf Regional Court in December, as well as two cases against patent exploiters before the Federal Patent Court and in the USA, which were both decided in favor of SMA in January.
SMA Solar Technology AG