AMSC case against Sinovel progresses in US

UNITED STATES: AMSC's criminal case against Sinovel in the US has taken a step forward after a judge ruled that it can progress through the courts.

The code is alleged to have been used in Sinovel's 1.5MW turbine

In June 2013, Sinovel, along with two of its employees and a former-employee of an AMSC subsidiary, was charged with stealing trade secrets from AMSC, causing an alleged loss of more than $800 million for the US company. Sinovel then installed wind turbines using the stolen code in Massachusetts, the charges allege.

US magistrate judge Stephen Crocker said in his ruling that Sinovel's attempt to present its subsidiary, Sinovel USA, as responsible for its actions in the US was unfounded.

The Chinese manufacturer had tried to quash the summons on the grounds that Sinovel USA — which closed shortly after the start of the FBI investigation — was a separate company.

But the judge said that the subsidiary's offices were paid for by Sinovel, it had no control of its finances and shared a website with its parent, making it "merely an alter ego" and "puppet" of Sinovel.

As such he ruled that the indictment against Sinovel is valid and the company would have to answer the case.

The charges against an AMSC employee, Sinovel and its two employees were returned following an investigation by FBI, which found evidence that AMSC's PM3000 software code had been used in four 1.5MW Sinovel turbines that had been installed in the Massachusetts towns of Charlestown, Fairhaven and Scituate.

If found guilty, Sinovel could face fines of up to $4.8 billion.

Progress in AMSC's cases in China has been less forthcoming. When contacted by Windpower Monthly, Sinovel said it would not comment on proceedings and that it did not know when the process would move forward.

In February the Supreme People's Court decided in favour of AMSC, finding that the copyright infringement cases should be heard separately from the commercial arbitration claims.