Indian Supreme Court rules on Enercon IP case

INDIA: India's supreme court has ruled that Enercon's case against former partner Wind World should go to arbitration, but that the process should take place under Indian law.

Wind World manufacturers its own version of Enercon's E53 turbine
Wind World manufacturers its own version of Enercon's E53 turbine

The court decreed that only rulings made by Indian institutions would be seen as valid in the German manufacturer's attempt to stop Wind World (formerly Enercon India) from using its designs.

Enercon had been planning to seek arbitration in London in the hope that any decision made under the UK's stricter IP rules would be deemed applicable in India, but this has now been ruled out.

However, the judge did recognise that there is a valid and binding arbitration agreement between the two parties. Enercon welcomed this decision saying that Wind World had sought to avoid arbitration "at any cost".

The issue stems from the formation of the Enercon India (EIL) joint venture with Mumbai-based Mehra Group in the country in 1994.

The relationship between the two companies has become increasingly acrimonious since 2004 when a patent pact for the joint venture expired.

This reached a head in 2007, when Enercon's own representatives were effectively excluded from the board of EIL, which was rebranded as Wind World in 2012.

Since then, co-operation between the two companies has stopped and Enercon has disowned the 800kW turbines being built by Wind World.

In 2011, India's patent court declared 12 Enercon-owned patents to be void. Although the patents are registered with authorities in Europe, Canada and the US, the board dismissed them as "demonstrating lack of novelty" and "representing no real innovation."

The Indian company changed its name in 2013, dropping any reference to Enercon, in a move that was interpreted as a conciliation to Enercon.

Last year Wind World took the position of number one turbine manufacturer in India from Suzlon. In 2012, the company installed 454MW in the country.

This article was ammended on 28 February following comments from Enercon.

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