LAKE MARY, Fla., Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is now considering arguments surrounding a ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission ("ITC"). The Commission earlier found that the General Electric Company ("GE") was not entitled to relief based on its claims that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries ("MHI") and Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, Inc. ("MPSA") (together "Mitsubishi") was improperly using three of GE's patents. The Court has reserved decision on the matter, but an attorney representing Mitsubishi, Donald Dunner, urged the Court to affirm the ITC's decision, arguing that the language of the patents supports the ITC decision and that GE is not entitled to relief.
Mitsubishi spokeswoman Sonia Williams stated, "GE can delay for a while, but rulings such as the one issued by the ITC will continue to yield genuine competition that benefits the consumer and the economic power of renewable energy."
Mitsubishi Alleges an Unlawful GE scheme
Mitsubishi filed suit against GE in May of 2010, alleging that following the introduction of Mitsubishi variable speed wind turbines into the United States market in 2006, GE embarked on an unlawful scheme to drive Mitsubishi out of the U.S. market and create a monopoly.
Ms. Williams says that weeks after GE lost before the ITC on its patent infringement claims, GE filed a new lawsuit against Mitsubishi alleging infringement of two other GE patents not mentioned in its first suit. At the time of filing the second lawsuit GE said "there are multiple areas where MHI's 2.4 megawatt wind turbines infringe on GE's existing patents," suggesting that each time Mitsubishi defeats GE's claims of infringement in court, GE will simply file more patent claims.
"Prior to the initiation of GE's first lawsuit against Mitsubishi, MPSA had sales of approximately $2 billion per year of variable speed wind turbines in the United States. Since GE's litigation campaign began over two years ago, MPSA has not sold a single variable speed turbine in the United States," Ms. Williams continued. "GE's strategy is clear and, if allowed to succeed, America's energy consumer will be irreparably harmed by its effort to prevent Mitsubishi from introducing competitive wind powered innovation."
The PTO Initially Rejects GE Patents '221 and '985
In separate actions, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") is reconsidering the validity of GE's '221 and '985 patents—the same patents addressed in the appeal before the Federal Circuit. The PTO recently granted MHI's request that it re-examine the validity of the '221 and '985 patents in light of prior art not known to the PTO when the patents were granted. In its first action in that proceeding, the PTO has rejected all 19 claims contained in the '221 patent, and has also rejected 28 of GE's claims found in the '985 patent. The PTO relies upon technology that existed when GE filed its patent application, including the same E.ON report referenced in Mitsubishi's antitrust complaint.
Intervenor Status Granted
GE filed a lawsuit against Mr. Thomas Wilkins in California attempting to claim that Mr. Wilkins, whom the ITC found to be a co-inventor of the '985 patent, had an obligation to assign his rights to GE. Mitsubishi sought to intervene as defendants in the lawsuit and, despite GE's opposition, on Friday the District Court has granted Mitsubishi's motion.
MHI Seeks to Protect its Patents from GE's Infringement
Last year, attorneys for MHI filed suit in United States District Court's Middle District of Florida against GE charging it with infringing a key MHI patent for variable speed wind turbines, alleging that GE has been making, using, selling and offering to sell infringing turbines without any authorization or license to do so.
SOURCE Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, Inc.