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The patent dollar machine

The European Patent Office (EPO) has granted Zond, Enron Wind Power's manufacturing arm, a patent for variable speed wind turbine technology. Apparently the office deems there is no prior art for variable speed in the European wind industry. The patent process is far from over though and protection of its technology (right) could cost Zond dear. Publication of the patent in the official bulletin is still a few months away and from that date there is a nine month period for submission of "oppositions," a process which can take more than two years. The EPO, it seems, will be squeezing dollars out of the wind industry for a long time to come.

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