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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
August 12, 1998, Decided
[***1726] [*1378] GAJARSA, Circuit Judge.
This appeal relates to an investigation initiated by the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 as amended, 19 U.S.C. § 1337 (1994), based on a complaint filed by Kenetech Windpower, [**2] Inc. (Kenetech). Kenetech's complaint before the ITC alleged that Enercon GmbH (Enercon) and New World Power Corp. (NWP) planned to import into the United States certain variable wind turbines that infringed Kenetech's U.S. Patent No. 5,083,039 (the '039 patent). On August 30, 1996, the administrative law judge made an initial determination that Enercon had violated section 337 by selling for importation variable wind turbines that infringed claim 131 of the '039 patent and issued an order excluding Enercon's variable wind turbines from entry into the United States until the expiration of the '039 patent. The initial determination and exclusion order became final on October 28, 1996. Enercon appeals from the final exclusion order, Inv. No. 337-TA-376, entitled Certain Variable Speed Wind Turbines and Components Thereof, 1 challenging the ITC's determination that it had jurisdiction in this case. Enercon also appeals certain aspects of the ITC's construction of claim 131 of the '039 patent. Because the ITC did not err in its determination that it had jurisdiction under section 337 and that Enercon's wind turbines infringed the '039 patent, we affirm the determination of the ITC. [**3]
A. The Technology
The '039 patent concerns a method of converting wind power into electrical power usable by an electric utility company. A wind turbine converts wind energy to electrical energy by using a wind-driven turbine in combination with an alternating current (AC) induction generator. As the wind turns the blades of the turbine, the rotor of the AC induction generator is activated, thereby generating electricity. In a variable speed wind turbine, the frequency of the generated power waveform depends upon the wind speed. The stronger the wind, the faster the turbine blades turn, and the greater the frequency of [*1379] the generated power waveform. In North America, electrical utilities must deliver power [**4] to their customers at a standard constant frequency of 60 Hz. Therefore, the frequency of the power generated by the variable speed wind turbine must be continually adjusted to match this standard in order for the turbine to be able to contribute [***1727] electrical power to the utility power grid. In addition, the converter must also closely match the "phase" of the utility power. The "phase" of a waveform refers to the points in time at which the sinusoidal wave reaches its positive and negative peaks. Even if the frequencies of the generated power and the utility power are equal, maximum power will not be delivered to the utility grid unless the phases also match. Essentially, the peaks and valleys must be matched so that the generated power constructively adds to the utility power at all times.
If the waveforms for both the voltage and current are in phase with one another, all of the power delivered by the generator is composed of "real" or usable power. If the voltage and current waveforms are out of phase with one another, a portion of the overall power consists of "reactive" power depending upon the degree to which the waveforms are out of phase. The degree to which the waveforms are [**5] out of phase is referred to as the "power factor angle" and is commonly denoted by the Greek letter phi ( phi ).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
151 F.3d 1376 *; 1998 U.S. App. LEXIS 18752 **; 47 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1725 ***; 20 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1500
ENERCON GmbH and THE NEW WORLD POWER CORPORATION, Appellants, v. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION, Appellee, and ZOND ENERGY SYSTEMS, INCORPORATED, Intervenor.
Subsequent History: [**1] Rehearing Denied and In Banc Suggestion Declined November 16, 1998, Reported at: 1998 U.S. App. LEXIS 30842.
Certiorari Denied May 24, 1999, Reported at: 1999 U.S. LEXIS 3460.
Prior History: Appealed from: United States International Trade Commission.
turbines, waveform, importation, rotating, wind, phase, infringement, variable, converter, electricity, frequency, generator, delivery, grid, sales contract, specification, argues, output, power factor, includes, literal, parties, angle, buyer, wind turbine, embodiment, references, inverter, desired, voltage
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