United States

United States

Mitsubishi hit for $170 million in GE battle

UNITED STATES: A Dallas court last night ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to pay damages of $170 million to General Electric (GE) for patent infringement.

MHI's 2.4MW turbine is at the centre of a dispute with GE
MHI's 2.4MW turbine is at the centre of a dispute with GE
The federal court jury found that MHI’s flagship 2.4MW turbine has infringed GE’s ‘705 patent for a form of low-and zero-voltage ride-through (LVRT) technology, which allows turbines to cope with voltage fluctuations on the grid.

 "We are obviously disappointed," said MHI spokeswoman Sonia Williams. She said that the Japanese company will try to have GE found guilty of ‘inequitable conduct’ regarding the ‘705 patent in  a second phase of the trial, in a few months’ time.

GE could not immediately be reached for comment.

The ‘705 patent is also being re-examined at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

A second GE patent at issue in the court case, the  '055, had been ruled invalid by US District Judge Royal Ferguson in February because the technology was not new. That patent was for a base frame that supports the rotor, gearbox and drive shaft,

GE filed the suit in February 2010 . It is only one of several prongs in a multi-billion dollar fight between the two giant companies over intellectual property and MHI's 2.4MW turbine.

At the end of February, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered the International Trade Commission (ITC) to review again whether MHI violated GE’s ‘985 patent, for a different type of low-voltage ride-through technology. The ITC had previously found for MHI.

MHI has filed another patent infringement case against GE, in federal court in Florida. Separately, MHI has filed an anti-trust case against MHI in Arkansas, accusing the US company of stifling the US market for variable-speed wind turbines. That case is on hold until the patent suit are resolved.

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