United States

United States

Patent case decision soon

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A final decision on Kenetech Windpower's allegation of patent infringement by German wind turbine manufacturer Enercon GmbH may be made by August 30, says the US International Trade Commission (ITC). New World Power Corp is also named in the complaint, which concerns variable speed technology. Both respondents deny the charges. On May 30 an ITC administrative law judge had made a "preliminary determination" that Enercon and New World did violate one of Kenetech's two patents. He further found that there had been a sale for import of the "accused products." The judge's initial determination of patent infringement -- which specifically concerns the power converter and how it makes electricity grid compatible -- is being now reviewed by the ITC commissioners. They are expected to issue a final opinion by the end of this month. Enercon, however, is requesting a review of the judge's initial finding. The German manufacturer denies, too, that any sale for import to the US has been made. In the meantime it is unclear whether Enercon is able to export turbines to the US while the probe, started 14 months ago, continues. On this aspect, ITC spokeswoman Peg O'Laughlin says, "There's been nothing remedial we have put out there." Kenetech, which has filed for bankruptcy since the ITC proceedings, is seeking a permanent ban on Enercon imports.

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