I've written extensively about the patent infringement and antitrust
litigation between wind power rivals GE and Mitsubishi (see, e.g.,
previous posts here and here).
While that legal battle spans multiple venues, encompasses several
different patents, and includes many patent and antitrust issues, the
heart of the dispute is the allegation that Mitsubishi's 2.4 MW turbine
infringes GE's patented technologies.
More particularly, GE has asserted infringement of its patented
variable speed technology, particularly as claimed in U.S. Patent No. 5,083,039,
a seminal patent relating to methods for enabling turbines to
efficiently feed power from wind of variable speeds into the utility
Another key patent asserted by GE is U.S. Patent No. 7,321,221,
relating to low voltage ride through technology for stabilizing the
supply voltage to a wind turbine after voltage drops without
jeopardizing the electrical components of the turbine.
In its antitrust case
against GE, Mitsubishi has alleged that GE's patent infringement claims
are baseless and are intended to intimidate Mitsubishi's potential
According to Mitsubishi, its $2 billion in annual U.S. sales of
variable speed wind turbines has dropped to zero since initiation of the
first patent infringement suit in early 2008.
In a glimmer of good news for Mitsubishi, Windpower Monthly recently reported that at least one customer is undeterred by the cloud over Mitsubishi's 2.4 MW turbine.
According to the article, the utility Duke Energy has ordered 202 MW
of the controversial turbines for its Los Vientos II wind project in
Texas. The article says it is the first order since the advent of the
patent dispute with GE.
It will be interesting to see if this vote of confidence by
Duke clears away the cloud over Mitsubishi's 2.4 MW turbine and leads to
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