Federal Court Denies GE’s Request To Turn Off The Lights In Mitsubishi Heavy’s Mighty Wind Case
A federal judge has denied General Electric Company’s request to pull the plug on Mitsubishi Heavy Limited’s potential billion-dollar case alleging GE has tried to snuff out competition in the wind turbine market.
United States District Court Judge J. Leon Holmes in Fayetteville, Arkansas, has denied GE’s motion to dismiss an attempted monopolization case brought by Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi alleges that GE seeks to monopolize the market for variable-speed wind turbines in the United States through a pattern of “sham” patent litigation and other methods.
However, the Judge did grant GE’s request to stay discovery in the case until the GE patent infringement claims against Mitsubishi have been resolved. As Judge Holmes explained, “If GE prevails in any of the infringement actions, then Mitsubishi’s claims in this action will be moot because GE will have the right to exclude Mitsubishi from the market” pursuant to GE’s patent claims.
Mitsubishi is seeking damages that could exceed $1 billion. Mitsubishi filed its attempted monopolization claim in this case against GE on May 10, 2010.
The case is the latest in a series of acrimonious episodes between the two heavyweights over the growing U.S. market for wind turbines. Mitsubishi is on track to build a turbine assembly plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Mitsubishi has been battling GE over patent claims since 2008.
Sonia Williams, a Mitsubishi Power Systems America spokesperson, observed that “[t]he judge did decide to stay discovery for the present. Nevertheless, we are heartened by his suggestion that he may terminate the stay if he finds appropriate circumstances.” GE had no comment on the ruling.