Wind Power

GE Files Patent Infringement Complaint Against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

General Electric (GE) this week confirmed that it has filed a patent infringement complaint against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI), in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. In the complaint GE alleges that MHI infringes on two additional patents. This announcement follows Mitsubishi’s decision to make a push into the U.S. wind market.

GE said that it believes that there are multiple areas where MHI’s 2.4 MW wind turbines infringe on GE’s 148 existing patents.

Patents infringed by MHI include:

  • GE’s patented zero voltage ride through technology system that helps wind turbines remain connected to the electricity grid when grid voltage drops to zero.  
  • GE’s patented bed-frame for supporting the weight of the rotor, gearbox and drive shaft.

In 2008, GE filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (USITC) alleging that MHI’s 2.4-megawatt (MW) variable-speed wind turbines infringed two patents owned by GE, violating Section 337 of the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930. GE later amended its complaint to allege infringement of a third patent also owned by the company.

Last year, The USITC ALJ issued an ID finding MHI’s wind turbines in question infringed all three GE patents and violated Section 337 with regard to two patents. No violation of Section 337 was ruled concerning the remaining patent because GE has not actually used the patent in the U.S. Subsequently both MHI and GE filed a petition for review of the ID by the USITC.

On January 8, the USITC issued a notice of Termination of Investigation with Final Determination of No Violation. GE said that it plans to appeal the most recent USITC determination that there was no violation. GE’s initial review of the Commission’s determination indicates errors that provide grounds for an appeal.

GE owns patents pertaining to many aspects of wind technology, including fundamental system, component, and grid operability technologies and has licensed certain patents to a number of wind turbine manufacturers. The technologies covered by these patents provide major benefits for customers including improved performance, increased energy production and improved grid stability.