Court ruling on manufacturing rights

An ongoing row between Danish NEG Micon and National Energy Processing Company of India Ltd (NEPC)-NEG Micon's former partner-over rights to manufacture and service wind turbines has seen yet another development. The Chennai High Court has decided that NEPC owns the exclusive rights to manufacture NEG Micon wind turbines up to 400 kW in India.

"The decision clearly indicates we were right in defending our claim to manufacture," says NEPC's Tirupathi Khemka. NEPC adds that turbines made by NEPC in India will be marketed under the NEPC brand name and will not "use the NEG Micon brand equity."

The long running dispute stems from an agreement signed between the two companies in 1990. Under its terms, says NEPC, NEG Micon was to transfer technology to NEPC related to the design, engineering, manufacture, assembly, erection, testing and maintenance of Micon's M450 line of wind turbines, which range in size from 150 kW to 400 kW. The agreement also allowed extension of the contract to cover other NEG Micon models, based on mutual consent, reports NEPC.

This clause was interpreted differently by the two companies, leading NEPC to file a restraining order against NEG Micon with the aim of preventing the Danish company manufacturing or maintaining any wind turbines in India up to 400 kW in size (Windpower Monthly, January 1999).

The Chennai High Court dropped that restraining order, permitting NEG Micon to accept maintenance contracts for turbines of all sizes-but a grey area arose over rights to manufacture, which NEPC claimed fully. NEG Micon appealed that decision, which resulted in the latest ruling.

NEG Micon will appeal again, says the company's Torben Bjerre-Madsen. He stresses that the conflict is about turbines intended for installation in India. NEG Micon will continue to make turbines of all sizes in India for export.

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