The U.S. International Trade Commission concluded its investigation into a complaint filed by GE against Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) concerning the importation “of certain variable speed wind turbine generators and components thereof.” In its ruling, the commission found that SGRE violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and it issued a limited exclusion order, and cease and desist orders, which would seem to be wins for GE.
Nonetheless, SGRE released a statement on Jan. 19 effectively claiming victory in the case, at least partly because many of the claims made by GE in its original complaint were later either withdrawn or terminated from the investigation. “Siemens Gamesa welcomes the final determination by the International Trade Commission (ITC) on January 18, 2022, rejecting all of GE´s claims against the company in regard to GE’s so-called Zero Voltage Ride Through Patent (US 7,629,705).”
The investigation was instituted by the ITC on Sept. 8, 2020, after GE reported SGRE had infringed on the company’s U.S. Patent No. 6,921,985 (often referred to as the Low Voltage Ride Through Patent) and U.S. Patent No. 7,629,705 (the Zero Voltage Ride Through Patent). While the ITC did rule in favor of a limited infringement on GE’s claims in regard to the Low Voltage Ride Through Patent, “it targets only full converter wind turbines running pre-2021 versions of software, which Siemens Gamesa no longer sells or imports,” SGRE said. “The ITC expressly found turbines running later versions of software did not infringe the ‘985 patent,” the company added.
“The ITC made the right decision in supporting fair and legal competition in the American market,” Shannon Sturgil, CEO of Siemens Gamesa’s Onshore North America business, said in the Jan. 19 statement. “We reiterate our firm conviction that no features or functionalities marketed by the company infringe any valid third-party intellectual property rights, and we remain committed to the American wind industry.”
Meanwhile, additional legal actions are continuing between the two companies in other jurisdictions, including a case Siemens Gamesa brought against GE in which it claims GE infringed some of SGRE’s offshore wind technology patents. Siemens Gamesa said it expects that trial to take place in Boston in April. Siemens and GE were involved in another dispute last year regarding intellectual property and contracts for gas turbines.
—Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).