Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) and Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas Inc. have filed an antitrust lawsuit in U.S. District Court against GE Co. The complaint charges GE with a scheme to monopolize the market for variable-speed wind turbines in the U.S. Mitsubishi seeks damages that will be calculated during litigation.
In the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court's Western District of Arkansas, Mitsubishi alleges that after Mitsubishi gained a foothold in the U.S. market in 2006, GE embarked on an unlawful anticompetitive scheme to drive Mitsubishi suppliers out of the U.S. market.
In addition, attorneys for MHI filed suit in the U.S. District Court's Middle District of Florida against GE, charging the company with infringing upon a key Mitsubishi patent for variable-speed wind turbines and alleging that GE has been making, using, selling and offering to sell infringing turbines without any authorization or license to do so.
‘GE's patent infringement lawsuit deterred customers from purchasing variable speed wind turbines from Mitsubishi.’ says Sonia Williams, spokesperson for Mitsubishi. ‘Our lawsuit documents how GE representatives intimidated Mitsubishi customers by advising them to either purchase license agreements from GE or face infringement risk.’
The complaint further alleges that GE made baseless claims of patent infringement against Mitsubishi.Â
‘GE brought these meritless claims against Mitsubishi and frightened potential wind turbine purchasers from purchasing Mitsubishi's turbines, preventing Mitsubishi's entry into the U.S. market,’ says Williams.
GE issued the following statement in response to MHI's lawsuit.
‘The claims in MHI's antitrust complaint alleging improper conduct by GE in obtaining and enforcing our patents are meritless and outrageous,’ says GE's Dan Nelson. ‘The validity of the patents at issue has been examined and upheld in both the U.S. Patent Office and the International Trade Commission. GE's conduct has been appropriate in all circumstances.’
Nelson adds that GE stands behind the merits of its patent infringement lawsuits against MHI and will fight to protect its intellectual property.Â
GE launched its first lawsuit for patent infringement against Mitsubishi in February 2008, claiming Mitsubishi's 2.4 MW wind turbine infringed upon three of GE's patents.Â
SOURCES: Mitsubishi Power Systems, GE