Here we go again!
From the Wall Street Journal –
FEBRUARY 11, 2010, 5:50 P.M. ET
GE, in a complaint filed in a U.S. District Court in Dallas, said the Japanese company is infringing on some of its 148 U.S. patents related to wind energy.
The complaint argues that Mitsubishi’s wind-turbine products violate GE’s patent for technology that helps wind turbines stay connected to the electricity grid when grid voltage drops to zero. The Fairfield, Conn.,-based conglomerate also cited its patent for a bed frame that supports the weight of the rotor, gearbox and drive shaft of a wind turbine.
GE is asking for a trial by jury and wants to be awarded compensation for the infringements.
The civil lawsuit comes a month after the U.S. International Trade Commission determined Mitsubishi’s 2.4 megawatt variable-speed wind turbines don’t infringe on GE’s wind-turbine patents. GE Energy spokesman Daniel Nelson said the company is appealing that ruling.
Tom Aiyama, a spokesman for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in New York, said the two patents at issue in the Dallas suit are different from the three patents involved in the ITC dispute.
He said the company has received the latest complaint and will decide how to respond. Regarding the ITC dispute, Mr. Aiyama said, “We believe there is no patent infringement,” .
Mitsubishi has made wind-turbine parts in Japan and Mexico and shipped them to the U.S. where the machines are assembled. But Mr. Aiyama confirmed the company might build a $100 million turbine plant in western Arkansas in 2011. Mitsubishi had roughly 10% of the U.S. market for wind turbines in 2008.
GE has the largest installed base for wind turbines in the U.S., with 43% of the newly installed capacity in 2008 according to the American Wind Energy Institute in Washington D.C. GE had 48% of the more than 5,000 wind turbines installed in 2008 and was followed by Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Germany’s Siemens AG in the rankings.
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