Gamesa loses out over Enercon 'storm patent'

SPAIN: After a three-year patent battle, the Barcelona commercial court has dismissed appeals by Gamesa questioning a European patent on "storm control ", validated in Spain and owned by Enercon founder Aloys Wobben.

Enercon founder Aloys Wobben... owns storm control patent
Enercon founder Aloys Wobben... owns storm control patent

After taking evidence from nine experts, the Spanish court found that the patent is valid and that several Gamesa wind turbine types "infringe the exclusive rights of Mr Wobben over his invention," Enercon said on 13 February 2014.

Operation of wind projects using the Gamesa turbines is also considered an infringement. This means the patent owner's authorisation is required to operate them until the patent expires.

Storm control allows a wind turbine to continue operating under adverse high wind conditions, Enercon explained.

The turbines affected are the G5X (G52 and G58), G9X (G90, G94, G97) and the G10X (G128).

Wobben's claim for damages due to the infringement committed by Gamesa was addressed against several companies in the Gamesa group, including Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica, Gamesa Eólica, Gamesa Energía and GERR Grupo Energético XXI.

The court requires the Gamesa companies that were sued by Wobben to pay indemnity for damages of more than EUR 7 million, "which could be one of the highest ever in patent litigation in Spain", and Gamesa has also been ordered to pay the legal costs, added Enercon.

The judgement handed down on 23 December 2013 is not final, however, "and it is very likely that Gamesa will appeal this decision", Enercon noted.

"Gamesa is firmly convinced that no patent has been infringed and, what is more important, regardless of the final ruling, neither Gamesa's business nor its customers would be affected," a Gamesa spokeswoman stressed to Windpower Monthly.

An appeal would be heard by Section 15 of the Barcelona Appeal Court, but the appeal period will not begin until the first court (Commercial Court No. 6 of Barcelona) has judged on Gamesa 's appeal application statement clarifying its position, said Enercon. "It is currently not clear when this will be," Enercon added.

Disputes similar to that with Gamesa are ongoing in other countries and involve other companies over the storm control technology patent, but Enercon declined to reveal details.'*

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